Picked seventh of nine teams in a preseason coaches poll, the Trojans kept their SPSL North title hopes alive with an emotional win over the Raiders.
AUBURN — When things got frantic, the Auburn High School boys basketball team got focused.
And, that led to a fantastic finish.
Senior forward Spenser Fisher put up 21 points and 13 rebounds as Auburn out-executed Jefferson to secure a wild 65-59 victory Friday night in a key SPSL 4A North boys basketball game.
The Trojans (12-6, 11-3 league), picked seventh out of nine teams in a preseason coaches’ poll, played with a chip on their shoulder. They also dug out of an early 10-3 deficit in supercharged atmosphere fueled by a Coaches Vs. Cancer crowd of pink-clad supporters.
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Auburn hit 8 of 8 free throws, including 6 of 6 from Rio Paul, in the final 1 minute, 20 seconds. The Trojans are tied with Tahoma atop the SPSL North with four games to go.
“We’ve been pushing this whole season, ever since we found out in the coaches poll that we were placed seventh,” said Auburn point guard Harold Lee, who had 18 points and nine assists. “That really put a chip on our shoulder to play hard every game. We felt disrespected.
“We were especially fired up to play in a big-game environment.”
After Danny Park’s spinning drive through the lane banked off glass and in for Jefferson (9-8, 8-6) to tie the game at 53-53, things got crazy.
Auburn was clinging to a 57-55 lead after Paul’s two free throws with 43 seconds showing. Then, TJ’s Park drew contact and a foul near the bench and Raiders coach Kyle Templeton.
After the foul was called, Templeton was whistled for a technical foul for what he called “being animated.”
After Park missed the front end of a one-and-one free with 35.6 seconds left, Paul sank two at the other end after the technical for a 59-55 Trojans cushion.
“It absolutely affected the game,” Jefferson coach Kyle Templeton of the T. “I have to take ownership for it whether it was warranted or not.”
Daryon James led the Raiders with 16 points, Joshua Duckworth scored 13, Tyshawn Webster-Piper 12 and Park 11.
“These guys have a lot of fight in them,” Auburn coach Ryan Hansen said of his players. “When we take the floor, we’ll never be the biggest team. We’ll never be the fastest or most athletic or shoot it the best.
“But we have a lot of grit.”