AURORA — In 1985, Tom Henderson picked up his first career win as the head boys basketball coach at Eastlake North.
More than 30 years later, his son T.J. Henderson got his first career victory as a head coach.
So what made those wins so memorable for the father-and-son duo?
Both of them took place against West Geauga.
The host Aurora boys basketball team started its 2017-18 season on the right track with a hard-fought 59-54 victory over its former Chagrin Valley Conference rival Thursday evening.
The win was T.J.'s first career victory with the Greenmen (1-0). His father now stands by his side as an assistant coach.
"I grew up in Kirtland, so I know the CVC well," Henderson said. "West G has a great group of kids. They busted thier butts."
It was close throughout the evening as the Wolverines (0-1) led 28-24 at halftime and 36-35 after three quarters.
But Aurora closed the deal with some crucial hustle plays down the stretch.
When senior guard Cade Huffman, who led all scorers with 24 points, canned two free throws with 2:32 remaining, the Greenmen took the lead for good (48-46).
Huffman's nonstop motor kept Aurora in the game despite seeing a few of his teammates go to the bench with foul trouble.
Huffman, who was a member of the Greenmen's Division II state semifinal boys soccer team, attacked the rim at will and also knocked down some outside shots to lead the Greenmen.
"This was Cade's first year playing soccer," Henderson said. "He came into the year in better shape than he has ever been."
After his two clutch free throws, Huffman scored on a fast break moments later after a defensive rebound by junior forward Jack Arnold, who was a force on the glass down the stretch.
Arnold had six of his team-high 10 rebounds in the fourth quarter. Aurora had a 29-24 edge on the glass.
"Jack did a great job," Henderson said. "He's our clean-up guy. If we need somebody to outhustle someone, it's usually Jack."
The Greenmen outscored West Geauga 24-19 in the final quarter. Aurora went on a 15-8 run to finish the game.
In the first half, the taller Wolverines made the hustle plays and had their way on the glass.
The Greenmen, on the other hand, struggled to find their offensive rhythm, thanks to foul trouble.
Senior point guard Trevor Sobol, junior guard Lucas Miller and sophomore forward Leonard Feckner picked up two fouls apiece for Aurora in the first quarter.
However, the Greenmen were able to weather the storm, thanks mainly to Huffman, who had 14 points in the first half, and some strong play from its reserves.
"We have some guys who are really young," Henderson said. "Most of them played JV minutes. We're trying to figure out how to use them. They did what we needed them to do."
Once Sobol returned to the floor in the third quarter, he made a significant difference, thanks to his playmaking abilities.
His steal and acrobatic layup in traffic gave the Greenmen a 52-46 advantage with a little more than 90 seconds left.
"Trevor is definitely our floor captain," Henderson said. "He's me on the floor. He's the rock everyone leans on. He runs our offense and sets stuff up to get everybody in the right positions."
Arnold finished with 10 points and junior guard Justin Gentile and senior forward James Robinson added 8 and 7 points, respectively, for Aurora.
The Wolverines were led by their prolific duo of senior guards.
Jax Shenkel gave the Greenmen fits with his ability to attack the rim. He finished with 20 points.
The 6-foot-2 Caleb Ramey was a challenging matchup, thanks to his ability to get to the basket and his perimeter shooting. Ramey had a team-high 21 points.
Aurora's win certainly wasn't a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination.
The Greenmen, who suffered a 66-63 defeat in the JV contest, made just 10-of-19 foul shots and committed 18 turnovers.
However, the Aurora players certainly made a strong impression against an old friend.
"Last year's game was a grind-it-out game," Henderson said. "The kids really wanted to come out and play and get after it."
The Greenmen are scheduled to entertain Western Reserve Academy Tuesday. They are set to make their 2017-18 Suburban League American Conference debut against Tallmadge Dec. 8 at James O. Maddox Court. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. both days.