Facing adversity can take some time for young teams, but the Aurora boys basketball squad showed continued growth despite a tough conference loss to Revere.
Standout senior guard Cade Huffman rolled his ankle late in the game and the host Greenmen missed his presence down the stretch in a 61-46 loss to Revere in a Suburban League American Conference clash Friday.
Aurora slipped to 3-6 overall and 1-3 in the conference. The Minutemen improved to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
"Going into the fourth quarter, we were down three points and we were playing very well as a team," first-year Greenmen head coach T.J. Henderson said. "I think when Cade got hurt, it was a big shock to the team."
Revere, fueled by Pete Nance, who recently made a verbal commitment to play at Northwestern (Ill.) University, outscored Aurora 19-7 in the fourth quarter.
Huffman finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He went home on crutches, but Henderson says he will be back soon.
Nance, a 6-foot-9 forward and the son of former Cleveland Cavalier forward Larry Nance, ended with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Freshman guard Gabriel Elsawy led the Greenmen with 13 points. He made a trio of 3-pointers and added 5 rebounds.
"Gabe played extremely well," Henderson said. "He is shooting well now and he has bought into running the offense for us. Gabe also has not been forcing shots.
"Defensively, I think that Gabe is understanding our team defense concept." Senior forward James Robinson continues to be a key for Aurora as he had 11 points and sophomore forward Leonard Feckner had 9. Feckner hit a long buzzer-beater at the end of the first half to cut the lead to two.
"Feckner’s confidence has been up and he has been playing aggressive," Henderson said. "We need him to be aggressive and play good defense."
"This is a great group of kids," Henderson said. "They are working hard, having fun and believing in the process."
Aurora suffered a convincing 86-65 defeat to Gilmour Academy Dec. 30 in Gates Mills. Point guard C.J. Charleston led the Lancers (6-1) with 29 points.
The Greenmen fought back within 59-49 with 3:50 left in the third, but they couldn’t get any closer despite a career-high 14 points from first-year junior guard Justin Gentile.
"Gentile can shoot," Henderson said. "He’s getting used to the speed of varsity basketball and I know he has been frustrated a bit, but he has been shooting well.
"He shot more than 4,000 shots during the winter break, shooting after practice."
Huffman had 19 points and Feckner had 9.
Aurora is scheduled to entertain Suburban League crossover rival Nordonia Jan. 9.
The Greenmen are set to host American Conference foe Copley Friday and Chardon Notre Dame Cathedral Latin Jan. 16. All three games are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.