Basketball is a collision sport for Auburn Riverside point guard McKenzi Williams.
The 5-foot-3 junior’s quickness threw Auburn Mountainview defenders off balance, often resulting in Williams being sent to the floor and then to the foul line as the Ravens ran away to a 60-37 victory over the host Lions on Friday night in Class 3A South Puget Sound League action.
“I’ll put my body on the line for my team every time,” Williams said after making 11-of-11 free throws on her way to a game-high 19 points. “It’s been that way since sixth grade.”
Ravens coach Derek Pegram lets Williams set the offensive pace.
“We give her a lot of freedom in our sets,” he said. “Once she starts breaking down the defense, our bigs start to get open.”
One followed the other against Auburn Mountainview.
Williams scored the bulk of her points in the first half, then 6-3 post Faith Turner scored all but one of her 15 points in the second half. Olivia Denton added 11 for the Ravens (5-0, 2-0 3A SPSL).
“Our mindsets are pretty much the same,” said Williams of her offensive sync with Pegram. “As long as we stay on the same page, I have confidence that with my ability, things will go well.”
The game went well from the outset for Auburn Riverside, which jumped out to a 26-8 lead midway through the second quarter. The Lions (3-2, 1-1) put together a 10-2 run, sparked by four points from Michaela Corbett, to cut the lead to 10 at the half.
A driving basket by Auburn Mountainview’s Taylor Flores with 6 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the third quarter briefly cut the margin to nine, but the Lions got no closer, trailing by as many as 25.
“We came ready to play,” Pegram said. “I’m really trusting these girls. To go to a rival school to play our first league road game and win is big.”
The Ravens held the Lions to their lowest point total of the young season, pressing at times and, as they plan to do on nearly every possession, falling back into a zone.
“Our guards are faster than most teams in the front of the zone, then if they get past the guards, we’ve got a 6-3 post waiting,” Pegram said. “It’s a good balance.”
Sydney Carter’s nine points led the Lions while both Flores and Brianna Zaragoza-Jones had eight.
Auburn Riverside faces a quick turnaround as it meets Kennedy Catholic on Saturday morning in the Sports Authority Showdown at Highline College in Des Moines. Auburn Mountainview is off until Tuesday when it travels to Bonney Lake.