LIBERTY - Auburn's basketball teams started the 2011-12 season in the same fashion they ended last season - sweeping a tournament.
Auburn's girls turned back Short Mountain, 26-10, to win the 2011 Best of the West Championship, and the boys stormed past New Middleton, 35-20, to capture their championship. Auburn capped last season with a sweep in the county championship.
Tyler King was dominant in the championship game, pouring in 15 points, grabbing nine rebounds, collecting two steals and adding two blocks. Briar Jakes also had another stellar game with eight points and seven steals.
Dalton Gaither controlled the boards and led Auburn with 10 rebounds. Johnny Kennedy added six points and six rebounds in the championship effort.
Auburn's defense was once again the story. Jakes' seven steals were part of 13 collected by the Knights.
The championship game got off to a rocky start for Auburn, which failed to score in the first quarter and trailed 8-0 early. The Knights got it going in the second quarter but still trailed 18-9 at halftime.
The second half was a different story.
Auburn outscored New Middleton 26-10 in the second half, including a dominant 12-1 effort in the final quarter.
Knights coach Regan Vaughn said it was good to see the team tested early in the season.
"It is good to see adversity this early in the season," Vaughn said. "Every game is different. The boys handled it instead of backing down and pushed through to a victory. They always like to make things interesting."
Short Mountain 10
Samantha Gaither and Alayna Reed turned in strong performances to lead Auburn to a 26-10 win against Short Mountain in the Division 2 Best of the West Tournament at DeKalb Elementary in Liberty.
Gaither scored 10 points, had three rebounds, one steal and one block, and Reed added nine points, two rebounds, two assists and four steals to key the Auburn championship.
Maleah Scott had a strong all-around performance with seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Hannah Whited added three rebounds and three steals.
Auburn came out strong. The Lady Knights shut Short Mountain out in the first quarter and staked claim to a 7-0 lead. They led 19-4 at the half.
Caitlin Miller led Short Mountain with five points. Ciara Riddle and Addie Hale each scored two points. Reed, Gaither, Whited, Scott and Hannah Leach were named All-Tournament for Auburn.