AURORA -- It's been a long, long time since an Aurora High girls basketball team has won a conference championship.
But the 90-year drought since the last title ended Feb. 15 when the Greenmen topped Tallmadge 38-27 to share the Suburban League American Conference crown with Revere. Both teams posted 10-2 conference marks this season.
Possibly the largest basketball crowd of the season -- for either a boys or girls game -- turned out in Aurora High's gym to witness the historic occasion.
As Queen's "We are the Champions" played on the public address system, it was a jubilant bunch of players and fans who gathered on the court after the contest ended to join in the celebration.
Players and coaches took turns cutting pieces of the nets on the court's two hoops. A banner at one end of the court was lowered so players could attach "2017" to the years 1924, 1925 and 1927 when other girls squads won conference titles. The banner was then hoisted back up.
Prior to the game, site manager John Kudley, who also is president of the Aurora Historical Society, set up a display in the gym lobby containing some information, photos and items pertaining to the championship teams of the 1920s.
Aurora's girls won Portage County Class B titles back then. Information from Portage County schools' "Speedometer" yearbook revealed that the 1924 team posted a 9-1 record and the 1927 team went 8-2.
In 1924, the info said Aurora beat Edinburg three times, Paris twice and Brimfield, Charleston, Palymyra and Nelson once each. The only loss was to Shalersville.
"In Class B girls, the Big Green team of Aurora engaged the Fighting Reds from Edinburg [in the championship game]," said the "Speedometer." "Although Aurora ruled a favorite, the lassies from the Northwest met the most determined opposition and were thankful to earn a 17 to 12 decision."
Members of the 1924 team were Agnes and Alice Dreyer (mother and aunt of Aurora residents Donna Mattmuller and Jane Burns), captain Nellie Isham, Mabel Jackson, Lois and Leila Riley, Grace L. Miller and Florence Dreese.
The Dreyer sisters were known around the school as "the tall twins." Coach of the team was J.O. Fox. He was a busy guy, also serving as AHS principal and boys basketball and football coach.
According to further information on the Aurora Historical Society's website, the girls were playing in new uniforms that year, and a photo shows the uniforms were comprised of short sleeved T-shirts, skirts, knee socks and high top tennis shoes.
In 1927, Aurora beat Hiram, Mantua Center, Mantua Station, Randolph, Rootstown, Deerfield, Atwater and Garrettsville and lost to Suffield and Ravenna.
Members of the 1927 team were captain Nella Isham, Josephine McNally, Lois Riley, Gertrude Huelsoman, Polly Henry and Dorothy Kinehan, and coach was Deane Eberwyne.
"Both the boys and girls teams are making a creditable showing this season, although several games have been lost," said the "Speedometer."
"The loss of three regular players from last year's squad cripple the girls to some extent, but they are playing a fine game under the leadership of captain Nella Isham.
The most points by the 1924 team was 37 against Paris, while the 1927 tallied a whopping 61 points against Mantua Station and 50 against Rootstown.
The "Speedometer" reported that by 1927 Alice Dreyer married a Mr. Miller and was a housewife, while Agnes Dreyer was a clerk. Lois Riley graduated as valedictorian of her 1927 class, Nellie Isham was class president, Leila Riley was a student at Kent's Normal School (now Kent State University), Dreese was a clerk and Jackson was working as a maid.
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