Aurora -- Outstanding team defense had everything to do with Aurora's impressive varsity boys basketball 47-40 league win Jan. 31 at West Geauga. It moved the team to even at 4-4 in the Chagrin Valley Conference Chagrin Division and 6-10 overall.

"I'm not sure how long it has been since Aurora beat West Geauga, but our half court defense was phenomenal," said second-year head coach Jim Wallish. "Everyone who played for us -- even off the bench -- played great defense. What that team defense did was give our offense more opportunities."

Senior guard Paul Kollat led the Greenmen with 13 points, including a trio of 3-point bombs in the first half against the Wolverines' zone defense.

West Geauga's Anthony Insana had 12 points and 8 rebounds, as the Wolverines fell to 2-6 in the league and 5-9 overall.

"Paul is one of our best shooters and he did great against their zone, but it was his teammates who showed the ability to find him," said Wallish. "That was a big key."

The defense held the Wolves to a season-low 14 points in the entire first half, as the locals used man-to-man defense with a few half-court traps mixed in.

AHS led 9-5 after one quarter and used a 16-9 second period to take a commanding 25-14 lead at halftime.

The Greenmen extended the lead in a tough third quarter. Aurora led 37-22 going into the final period, in which West G. outscored Aurora 18-10.

Junior Pavel Galchenko played well on both ends as he had 7 points, plus senior forward Anthony Quaranto and sophomore guard Parker Blunt each had 6. Junior guard Michael Durkin scored 5 points on the strength of three free throws.

Senior forward Joe Roberto added 4 points, while Nick Ely, Joe Dinardo and Kyle Fayne each had a hoop. Senior forward Drew Daff also played sound defense and helped on the glass.

"I thought Roberto and Durkin did a real nice job on the glass, but everyone contributed," Wallish said. "Ely came in and took some big charges and forced several turnovers with his defense while Daff had a huge block for us. Daff helped with pressure out on our traps."

Wallish was asked if he thought his club, just 1-22 last year, could have reached the .500 mark in CVC play this year. He didn't hesitate with his answer.

"I have always thought at the beginning [of this season] that if this team plays as hard as it can, they are capable of beating anybody in the league. I'm happy the kids are feeling this success. I still think there were a few more games that we could have won."


In girls hoop action last week, the Greenmen were competitive against the best in the league, as they lost 44-30 to Chagrin Falls, which clinched a share of the CVC's Chagrin Division championship.

Logan Huffman, a second year sophomore point guard, had one of her top games for Aurora as she poured in 12 points. The 5-7 Huffman buried a pair of 3-pointers.

Despite being held under double digits for all four quarters, Aurora battled to remain competitive as the locals fell to 3-15 overall and 3-6 in the CVC.

Freshman guard Korie Hobbs added 6 points, while senior guard Hanna Garnek had 5, sophomore Maria Mims 4, freshman Syarra Sellers 2 and freshman April Davis had a free throw.

"We had a hard time getting into a rhythm on offense and we did not play great defense," said veteran Aurora coach Erika Greenberg.

Hannah Thome, a 6-foot-1 junior, had 16 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocked shots for Chagrin (13-5, 8-0). The Tigers also got 10 points, 8 boards and 2 blocks from small forward Amy Dishong.

The girls sectional/district tournament draw took place Feb. 2 in the new "blended" format. The 12-team Kenston field is blended with the 12-team Perry field. "We were ranked 23rd out of the 24 teams in our bracket," said Greenberg, and AHS will play Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. at top-seeded Solon.