SPSL BASKETBALL REPORT: KW shoots down Auburn, 64-43


The Reporter

The plan seemed clear enough Tuesday night to the fifth-ranked Auburn High boys basketball team.

Stop Kentwood junior Joshua Smith — the South Puget Sound League North Division’s leading scorer and rebounder — and the Trojans would be home free with a victory over the ninth-ranked Conquerors.

That plan, however, left one thing unaccounted for: Kentwood’s 3-point shooters. The Conquerors connected on 7 of 16 from behind the arc, three from Alec Wilson and two from Tre Tyler, on the way to a 64-43 SPSL North thumping of the Trojans at Kentwood High.

And though Auburn (4-2 in league, 6-2 overall) slowed down Smith, particularly in the first half when he scored just four points, they weren’t able to contain Kentwood’s dominating force the entire game. Smith finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots.

“(My teammates) know every game I won’t be able to score 30 or something like that,” said the 6-foot-9, 285-pound Smith, who came into the night averaging 25 points and 15 rebounds per game. “I tell them, ‘If I’m getting double or triple teamed, I’m going to look to pass the ball.'”

The Conquerors (4-1, 5-3) did just that on offense, working the ball around to everyone on the floor until someone had an open shot. Kentwood hit on 18 of 33 from the field and 7 of 11 from the line. But more importantly for a team that’s relied heavily on Smith all season, four different players connected for at least one 3-pointer.

“When we shoot the ball like that, we’re a pretty tough team to beat,” said Kentwood coach Michael Angelidis.

Auburn’s suffocating defense on Smith was a benefit to Tyler and Wilson, who scored 16 and 15 points respectively.

But the Trojans game plan wasn’t a complete loss as they did hold Smith nearly 10 points under his season average.

“We were sagging off (on defense), giving a lot of attention to Josh. It was a difficult change of pace for the guys, I think. It kind of effected our energy,” said Auburn coach Ryan Hansen. “These guys whole career, they’re told to get out and pressure the ball, get after it defensively. And now, all of a sudden, we’re sagging off and not doing that. Like I told the guys, I take a lot of the blame for our (lack of) energy in the game.”

Four Auburn players — Isaiah Johnson, Carlo Lavoie, Jay Payne and Jeff Gouveia — came into the game averaging double figures in scoring. Of those four, only Lavoie, who scored a team-high 13 points, reached double figures on Tuesday.

And Johnson, Auburn’s 6-6, 260-pound post who came in leading the team in scoring at 12.6 per game, was held to just two. Up against Smith all night, Johnson seldom saw the ball in the paint.

“(Smith’s) obviously one of the best players, number one in the nation in his grade,” said an exhausted Johnson. “And he’s big. Way bigger than me. I gave it my hardest fight. I think I battled pretty well against him, but there’s not much you can do.”

Johnson left the game with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter shaking his head. Smith, however, was impressed with the Auburn standout.

“He’s just one of those dudes that I can’t just muscle around,” Smith said. “He’s not one of those people I can just get in, run him over and get a call.”

Auburn’s plan to focus on Smith slowed the game down and essentially played into Kentwood’s hands. Meanwhile, the Trojans simply couldn’t hit a shot, hitting just 2 of 15 3-pointers and 1 of 7 from the line.

Despite their shooting woes, the Trojans held a 12-11 lead late in the first quarter. Kentwood’s Tyler proceeded to feed Wilson for a layup to end the first quarter, then added a 3-pointer to open the second, giving the Conquerors a 16-12 lead they would not relinquish.

Kentwood took a 23-17 lead into the half, then Smith came alive in the third quarter to help put the game out of reach. The Conquerors went on a 9-0 run to open the third quarter, getting six points from Smith and a 3-pointer from Henry Everette to take a 32-17 lead.

Auburn didn’t get any closer than nine points the rest of the night.

“We just didn’t come out defensively like we usually do,” said Auburn’s Gouveia, who finished with eight points. “We had a different defensive game plan that we thought would work.”


• Kent-Meridian 57, Tahoma 42: The Royals (1-4, 3-5) spread the wealth as nine different players scored at least once in a win over the Bears (0-5, 0-9). Barento Ahmed led the way for K-M, pouring in 12 points while Marlowe Brim added 10. Tahoma’s Christian Behrens, who came in averaging 22.4 points per game, led the Bears with 23 points.

• Auburn Riverside 72, Jefferson 62: Ryan Rogers and Mitch Hagerty combined for 43 points — 22 for Rogers, 21 for Hagerty — in leading the Ravens (3-3, 5-4) past the Raiders (3-3, 4-4). Jefferson’s Cramer Doughty led all scorers with 26 points.

• Federal Way 100, Kentlake 59: Jeff Budinich scored 18 points and Michael Salazar added 15, but it wasn’t enough for the Falcons (1-4, 3-5) against the high-powered and third-ranked Eagles (4-1, 7-1). Jeff Forbes and Michael Hale scored 21 points apiece for Federal Way while Cole Dickerson added 20.


• Tahoma 61, Kent-Meridian 50: The Bears (2-3, 4-5) bolted out to a 37-14 halftime lead and never looked back. Four Bears reached double figures in scoring, led by the 13 points of Katie Buskey. Kent-Meridian’s Briana Shannon led all scorers with 21 points.

• Federal Way 59, Kentlake 43: Morganne Comstock (15 points), Riley Butler (10) and Cody Sisco (10) all reached double figures scoring, but it wasn’t enough for the Falcons (3-2, 5-3) in a loss to the Eagles (3-2, 6-3).

• Kentwood 75, Auburn 45: Kylie Huerta delivered a game-high 21 points, leading the second-ranked Conquerors (4-0, 7-0) past the Trojans (1-5, 3-6). Jessie Genger added 12 points for Kentwood while Sanda Milovic chipped in 10. Jennsyn Chaney led Auburn with 11 points.

• Auburn Riverside 78, Jefferson 36: Mercedes Wetmore scored a team-high 14 points while Kara Jenkins (12) and Amanda Thomson (11) also reached double figures as the fifth-ranked Ravens (5-1, 7-3) ripped the Raiders (4-2, 7-2).

• Curtis 32, Kentridge 29: The Vikings (2-3, 3-6) outscored the Chargers 16-8 in the decisive fourth quarter to pull out the nonleague win. Kelli Seguro led the Chargers (1-4, 2-7) with nine points.

Kentwood 64, Auburn 43

Auburn 12 5 13 13 43

Kentwood 13 10 19 22 64

Auburn: Jeff Gouveia 8, Jay Payne 8, Kevin Henderson 2, Isaiah Johnson 2, Carlo Lavoie 13, Iszia Johnson 10.

Kentwood: Darrius Coleman 6, Henry Everette 5, Greg Humphreys 4, Jordan Retz 2, Joshua Smith 16, Tre Tyler 16, Alec Wilson 15.