Julie Futch and Rylee Denbo make a dynamic duo. Together, they hope to drive the Auburn Riverside girls basketball team to its first South Puget Sound League North Division title...

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COVINGTON — Julie Futch and Rylee Denbo make a dynamic duo.


Together, they hope to drive the Auburn Riverside girls basketball team to its first South Puget Sound League North Division title — and more.


The Ravens took another early step toward that first goal last night with a convincing, 96-59 victory at previously unbeaten Kentwood.


Denbo scored 22 of her career-high 30 points in the first half as the Ravens (3-0 overall and league) rolled to a 55-32 lead. Her final basket of the half came at the buzzer after a textbook feed from Futch, who worked the clock down in a precision manner and dished to Denbo in the paint.


It’s a play the two have worked to perfection over the past four years.


“We’ve been playing together for a long time,” said Futch, a junior who is one of the state’s finest all-around athletes. “We know what each other’s moves are and we know how to get the ball to each other.”


“We’re like Stockton and Malone,” Denbo said with a laugh.


Futch had six assists to go with her 22 points. Denbo, a 5-foot-11 senior, added a game-high 13 rebounds. Stephanie Wilber, a sophomore transfer from Auburn, added 11 points and five rebounds.


Auburn Riverside was red hot in the first half, sinking eight of 13 three-point shots. Futch, a state-class hurdler and all-league soccer player, hit four of nine treys. The Ravens also made 22 of 29 free throws, while Kentwood sank only 20 of 43. The teams combined for 55 fouls.


Courtney Vandersloot had 15 points, Ashley Kain 14 and Beth Johnson 10 for Kentwood (3-1, 2-1).


Auburn Riverside reached the West Central 4A bi-district playoffs for the first time last year, but the team has its sights set higher this season.


“We’ve been working for this for a long time,” Futch said. “We’re ready to head to the state tournament.”




Other games




Kentlake 50, at Sumner 38


The Falcons (4-1, 2-0 SPSL North) led 35-13 at halftime as they handed the Spartans (5-1, 2-1) their first loss. Allyson Sievers of Kentlake scored 18 points.




At Auburn 55, Kent-Meridian 52


Paesa Strickland’s pull-up jumper with 32 seconds remaining put Auburn ahead, and Kanela Strickland made a steal and sank two free throws with :08 left to secure the Trojans’ first win. Paesa Strickland got 10 of her 15 points in the fourth quarter for Auburn (1-3, 1-2). Na’keta Preston scored 24 and Jessica Duran 15 for K-M (1-4, 0-3).




At Kentridge 48, Tahoma 33


The Chargers (3-2, 2-1) outscored Tahoma 30-8 in the second half after trailing by seven at halftime in the SPSL North game. Carrie Michaud scored 18 for Kentridge against the Bears (0-4, 0-2).




Bethel 42, at Federal Way 26


Amanda DuRocher’s 13 points and a big defensive effort by the Braves (4-0, 4-0 SPSL South) beat the Eagles (1-4, 0-4).




At Spanaway Lake 51, Emerald Ridge 42


Laura Olson scored 22 points as the Sentinels (6-0, 4-0) won a showdown of teams tied for the SPSL South lead. Olson went 8 for 9 at the free-throw line against the Jaguars (3-2, 3-1).




Jefferson 55, at Decatur 18


The Raiders (4-2, 2-2 SPSL South) dominated Decatur (0-5, 0-4) with defense. Kalei Frank’s 18 points led Jefferson.




At Curtis 57, Puyallup 48


Curtis (4-1, 3-1) raced to a 36-12 halftime lead, then held on for an SPSL South win as the Vikings (3-3, 3-1) broke loose for 26 fourth-quarter points. Brittany Weaver’s 21 points led Curtis.




At Rogers 51, Beamer 48


Dominique Simmons and Nicole Derosier teamed for 28 points to help the Rams (1-4, 1-3 SPSL South) get their first win. Gena Woodke led the Titans (1-4, 0-4) with 13.