Auburn High surged ahead with an electric third quarter and defeated Smiths Station 79-56 on Tuesday night in the teams’ boys basketball area-opening showdown.
Auburn High moved to 12-2 — and handed Smiths Station its first loss this season.
Auburn High held a slim 33-29 lead at the half before exploding on offense for 25 third-quarter points, before taking a 58-42 lead into the fourth.
Jae Baker went off for 14 points in that third quarter alone. He finished with 18 points.
Jayden Buckley led Auburn High with 21 points, while hauling in seven rebounds and dishing six assists.
Eli Elston added 13 points while Noah Warren added nine.
Both Auburn High and Smiths Station entered Tuesday night’s Area 4-7A opener with stellar records, but the Tigers took early control of league play.
Auburn High will next play at fellow area foe Central-Phenix City on Friday. The three-team area then flips locations for the next go-around, with Auburn High traveling to face Smiths Station in the rematch Jan. 26 before hosting Central on Jan. 29.