The Auburn Mountainview High girls basketball team isn’t the same group that terrorized opponents the past two seasons, but it was difficult to tell based on the result the Lions posted Friday night at Peninsula.
The Lions broke away from the Seahawks late in the first quarter to score 25 consecutive points and earn a 53-27 victory in a key Class 3A South Puget Sound League battle.
During a span of about 12 minutes, the Lions couldn’t do much wrong, and the Seahawks couldn’t do much right. Auburn Mountainview sank several 3-pointers during the surge and forced the bulk of Peninsula’s 21 turnovers to turn an expected close game into a rout.
“We just kind of got down on ourselves a little,” Peninsula’s Rilee Zilkey said. “We thought we knew what they were going to do before they did it. Then it just got in our heads, and it messed with us the whole time.”
The Lions (6-8 overall, 2-2 league) don’t have the same personnel that led them to lengthy postseason runs the past two years. The size and strength of Aalia Braboy, Caitlin Carr and Hattie Kosko are gone, but Auburn Mountainview has adapted.
“They’re a dribble-drive, motion team, and they’re going to look to attack the basket,” Seahawks coach Steve Jacobson said.
“Our nearest defender has to physically step in the way of the ballhandler to make her stop and kick it back out, and we didn’t want to do that,” he said. “We wanted to reach in, and reaching in gives you the result of a foul or the girl continuing on to the basket.”
By the time Peninsula (9-5, 1-3) made adjustments, it was too late. Auburn Mountainview took a 30-7 halftime lead after it held the Seahawks scoreless in the second quarter.
Senior point guard Aly Carr was the key for the Lions’ offense. She scored eight points and set up her teammates on many occasions. Allison Hammer scored 12 points and Sammi DePiano had 10, most of them on open looks from beyond the arc.
Zilkey said the Seahawks didn’t do a good job of helping each other defensively.
“We just lost our girls, and they went outside the 3-point line,” she said.
At the offensive end, Peninsula simply moved the ball too slowly, Jacobson said. The plan was to create close-range shots for Zilkey and Tyler Stolz, but the speed of Auburn Mountainview’s guards didn’t allow it to happen.
“Our execution was either too slow, or the pass was lobbed in, so it allowed the defender to run in and double-team that,” Jacobson said. “The worst part is she’s coming from the 3-point line at the top all the way down to the post to steal that ball, which shows you how slow those kind of passes are coming in.”
Peninsula played better in the second half, but the 23-point hole it dug for itself was too much to overcome. Stolz, Zilkey and Toni Helwig shared the team lead with six points each.
Leigh Iosia, the Seahawks’ leading scorer, managed only one basket, a 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
With five of the SPSL 3A’s six teams making the playoffs, Peninsula is still in good shape to reach the postseason for the first time in three seasons.
The Seahawks were scheduled to travel to Lakes after press time Tuesday, and they will host first-place Bonney Lake at 7 p.m. Friday.
They’ll be looking to restore their offensive rhythm, which stalled during last week’s losses to Enumclaw and Auburn Mountainview. They averaged only 28 points in the two games, 11 below their season average.
More importantly, they’ll try to flush what likely was their worst performance of the season against the Lions.
“It’s definitely a better season than the last one, but we still need to make sure we’re better this year,” Zilkey said. “We have to make sure that we’re always trying to improve our game.”
“We have a stretch of six games, and each one is the most important game of the year when we get to it,” Jacobson said.Sports Editor Neil Pierson can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_neil.