Shhhh … the Auburn Riverside High School girls basketball team hasn’t lost a game this season.
Neither has Arlington, Bellevue, Bishop Blanchet, Lynnwood or West Seattle in the 3A classification — all teams that placed in the state tournament last year.
Auburn Riverside didn’t. But don’t tell the fifth-ranked Ravens they don’t belong in that class. Especially not after they spoiled Bonney Lake’s senior night with a 50-24 win on the road Tuesday to improve to 17-0 and clinch at least a share of the 3A SPSL title for the second consecutive season.
“We get that a lot from people: ‘You guys haven’t played the Lynnwoods and the Bellevues of the world,’ ” Auburn Riverside coach Derek Pegram said. “But you know what? They haven’t played us. The only thing we can do is take care of the teams that are in front us and we are.”
Auburn Riverside (17-0, 11-0 3A SPSL) moved three games ahead of Bonney Lake (10-7, 8-3) and Auburn Mountainview (12-4, 8-3) with three games to play. It has won its past seven league games by an average of 25 points and held the Panthers to to a season-low 24 points, including zero in the fourth quarter.
The Ravens have done this with defense. Bonney Lake was just the most recent victim. Auburn (11 points), Lakes (20), Sumner (28) and Auburn Mountainview (35) were all held to season-lows against Auburn Riverside, too.
“Defense is definitely our specialty,” said 5-foot-3 junior guard McKenzi Williams, who scored a game-high 19 points. “We’re just a really fast team.”
“They pack the key and run at shooters,” Bonney Lake coach Dan Lisk said. “If you are tentative at all you are going to have what we had tonight, that’s for sure.”
Williams finished 9 of 12 shooting, with more than half of her points coming on fast-break layups off steals or missed shots.
She’s heard some call her an Energizer Bunny or roadrunner. She said “little monster” might best describe her style of play.
Pegram prefers “bulldog.”
“Bulldogs get that toy in their mouth and they just shake their head,” Pegram said. “We get to those points in games where a team starts to come back on us or it will be close and we get a possession where it doesn’t matter what’s going on — she is going to rip the ball away and she’s going to lay it up.”
And on Tuesday that happened in the third quarter. Bonney Lake cut the lead to 20-16 when Emily Stonerock, who scored 10 points, hit two free throws.
Williams scored two possessions later, Faith Turner — Auburn Riverside’s 6-foot-3 post who finished with 10 points — went to work down low for two buckets, and Williams later snatched away an offensive rebound — all 5-foot-3 of her — and put it back up to give the Ravens a 34-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Just don’t say Auburn Riverside has the league’s tallest player (Turner) and the shortest (Williams).
“I would say the tallest and the quickest,” Pegram laughed. “McKenzi is pretty short but she is quite the athlete.”
And one that has Auburn Riverside in elite Class 3A company.
“We came into this season with the idea we were going to be league champs,” Williams said. “We personally knew. But we felt like if you guys want to sleep on us, we’re going to have to come and wake you up. And that’s what we’re doing right now.”
AR: Brooke Dye 2, Autumn Lee 6, Olivia Denton 6, Iyana Galarza 7, McKenzi Williams 19, Faith Turner 10
BL: Taryn Schelin 3, Emily Stonerock 10, Shaya McQueen 1, Brooklyn Gratzer 5, Samantha Boudreau 5.