AUBURN, Mass. – The temperatures are sinking outside, but the Auburn High School Rockets were as hot as could be inside at the start of their game Tuesday, leading by 17 points after eight minutes and going on to a 65-53 win over the Southbridge Pioneers.
A “big three” of Auburn forwards highlighted the victory. Senior Tyler Simmons led the Rockets with 22 points, senior Tyler Lamonda had 16 and junior DJ Scavone 13 as the Rockets improved to 2-0 on the five-day-old season.
The difference in the game was the first quarter, as the Rockets started the game off with a bang. Auburn went on a 12-0 run in the first four minutes. Lamonda scored 12 in the opening quarter, pacing Auburn to a 20-3 lead.
“We came out ready to play a lot better than last game,” said Auburn head coach Andrew Niedzwiecki. “We didn’t try to score 20 points in one minute. We just played our defense and moved the ball offensively and were able to get good things.”
In the second and third quarters, Auburn was outplayed. Southbridge went into a full-court press in the second quarter and its shots started to fall, keeping the game in striking distance, 28-13 at the half. The Pioneers outscored the Rockets in the third as well, cutting the deficit to 50-36.
“We started to rush things again,” Niedzwiecki said. “We’re getting there. At least it’s a step forward from last game, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
The Pioneers moved to within 65-53 in the final seconds, but it was too little, too late, as Auburn’s dominant first quarter was the difference.
Other scorers for the Rockets were sophomore guard Mark Wright with six points, junior guard Michael Thomas with four, senior guard John Kewley with two and junior center Will Greelish with two.
Athletic Director William Garneau allowed Auburn students to attend the game for free if they presented an unwrapped toy at the door, which was for the indoor track/Auburn Police Association toy drive. Indoor track athletes will continue to collect toys at Wednesday’s boys hockey game and Friday’s boys' basketball game.