AURORA -- Timely scoring and key defensive stops can be tough to come by against quality foes.
Fueled by some Aurora foul trouble, Barberton canned 10 free throws in the final period to key a 55-50 Suburban League American Conference win Feb. 11.
The Greenmen, who led 13-10 after the opening period, fell to 6-12 overall and 2-8 in the American Conference. It was the team's third loss last week, the others being to Woodridge 61-43 and Revere 66-54, and fourth in a row overall.
Barberton was 19 of 25 at the charity stripe, while Aurora converted only 7 shots. "We started really well. But Barberton is a good team and they battled back," said head coach Steve Fleming.
"Fouls were a big factor in the game, and it hurt down the stretch, but it's something we need to learn to play through."
Junior guard Cade Huffman netted 19 points to lead the Greenmen charge. Gavin Blunt had a superb game with 17 points and junior guard Zach Elsawy had 10.
Senior guard Donovan Boyle and sophomore forward Jack Arnold each added 2 points for Aurora, which played good defense.
"These are the games that we need to prep for the second season," explained Fleming, referring to the Solon Division I sectional-district tournament.
Jordan Soyars scored 18 for Barberton and Zane Ries put in 16 points.
Meanwhile, Revere (9-10) used big outputs in the first (17-7 edge) and fourth (24-19) periods to get the win.
Smallish Aurora, with only one post defender over 6-foot-2, had to face 6-foot-8 Pete Nance, the son of former Cleveland Cavaliers star Larry Nance. He netted 12 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked a host of shots.
Blunt was red hot for the Greenmen as he finished with 21 points. He buried a trio of 3-pointers, while Huffman scored 12 points and junior James Robinson had 6 points and 7 caroms.
Elsawy popped in 9 points and senior guard Alex Ely drilled two triples and had 6 points.
Woodridge is having one of its finest seasons in school history at 19-1, and it showed against Aurora. Huffman canned four treys in the loss and ended with 15 points, while Blunt had 11.
Ely and Elsawy each added 5 points, sophomore guard Cooper Bizjak added 2, as did Arnold.
Woodridge was led by standout guard Mason Lydic (17 points) and 6-foot-9 center Aaron Jones (8 points, 9 boards, 4 blocks).
The Greenmen earned the seventh seed for the Solon tournament and have a good spot in the brackets.
"I think when you look at our district, there are some challenging teams," noted Fleming. "Anything can happen in the postseason, and we feel pretty good about our situation. You always want to put your team in a position to win some games."
Aurora will play a first round game on the road at sixth-seeded Twinsburg (3-15) on March 1 at 7 p.m., with the winner to face Kenston.
"We know Twinsburg and they're a team we can beat," said Fleming. "What is nice is that both Twinsburg and Kenston are close rivalries for us," explained Fleming. "It's a good situation because we know we can beat Kenston, too."