TALLMADGE -- When the Tallmadge girls basketball team had the ball for what seemed like an eternity at the end of the game, Aurora senior guard Korie Hobbs was thinking about one thing.
"We have to stop them," she said.
Hobbs ended up doing one better: She didn't give the Blue Devils a chance.
The Lady Blue Devils lost their second consecutive game after suffering a heartbreaking 32-28 loss to Suburban League American Conference rival Aurora Jan. 7 at James O. Maddox Court.
With the loss, Tallmadge (9-3), which defeated Leavittsburg LaBrae 64-47 Jan. 11 at home, fell to 4-2 in the conference. The Lady Greenmen improved to 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the conference.
As soon as Aurora took a two-point lead, the Lady Blue Devils had the ball with a little less than two minutes left in the game.
The Lady Greenmen knocked away two passes, but the ball remained in Tallmadge's possession.
Tallmadge, which committed 18 turnovers, inbounded the ball with 5.7 seconds left, but Hobbs stole the ball and then was fouled. She promptly knocked down both free throws with 3.3 ticks remaining for the final points of the game.
"I was thinking, 'I have to make these,'" Hobbs said. "I knew I was going to get fouled. This win is very important."
Epstein was noticeably disappointed after the loss.
"We tried to get it inside," he said. "We wanted [senior forward] Jamie McGhee to slip to the hoop, but we didn't make the pass."
Prior to Hobbs' clutch play, guard/forward Syarra Sellers, who led all scorers with 15 points, converted a floater and a short jumper on back-to-back possessions to give the Lady Greenmen a 30-28 advantage.
"That's what you expect from a senior," Aurora head coach Erika Greenberg said. "She's a player who decided to get us the win."
Considering what happened in the first quarter, it seemed hard to believe the game would come down to the final seconds.
The Lady Greenmen scored the first eight points of the game and were up 14-4 early in the second quarter after a jumper off the dribble by Sellers.
But Tallmadge (8-3, 4-2) went on a 7-0 run that started late in the second quarter to take a 21-16 advantage. McGhee concluded the run with a putback.
It was nip and tuck the rest of the way until Sellers and Hobbs delivered the crushing blows for Aurora.
"It's a frustrating, disappointing loss," Epstein said. "Winning the league is a lot more difficult. We still have the second half of the season. A couple things could happen in the league."
Sellers led all scorers with 15 points and Hobbs finished with 7 points. The Lady Greenmen made 11 of 14 shots from the free throw line.
Senior guard/forward Brin Stralka led the Lady Blue Devils with 10 points and senior guard and junior forward Maia Aizpurua each had 7 for Tallmadge, which earned a 44-26 win in the junior varsity contest.
On Jan. 11, the Lady Blue Devils outscored LaBrae 22-5 in the second quarter to take a 34-13 halftime lead.
McGhee had 13 points and 6 rebounds and Stralka and junior guard Sara Johnson each had 12 points for Tallmadge, which had a 28-19 edge on the glass and forced 18 turnovers. The Lady Blue Devils earned a lopsided 46-6 win in the JV game.
Tallmadge was scheduled to visit Ravenna Jan. 14. Results were not available at press time.
The Lady Blue Devils are set to host Massillon Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. before heading to Kent Roosevelt for an American Conference showdown Jan. 21 at 2:30 p.m.