TALLMADGE — The Aurora girls basketball team took control of the game early and had no problems the rest of the way.
Nonetheless, that might have been the worst thing that could have happened to the Greenmen.
One way or another, the defending two-time champions are off and running in the Suburban League American Conference.
They’ll worry about their minor shortcomings later.
Aurora cruised to a convincing 60-38 victory over host Tallmadge Saturday at James O. Maddox Court.
The Greenmen (2-0, 1-0) scored the first nine points and had the Blue Devils reeling in what seemed like a blur.
However, when you have extremely high expectations like Aurora does, such a demolition can fall short of the grade.
That’s especially true when the team’s professor is Greenmen head coach Erika Greenberg, who has little patience for indifferent execution, poor shot selection and worst of all, lackadaisical effort.
"I told the girls in the locker room, ‘Yes, we won, but there’s a lot of things we need to clean up,’" Greenberg said. "We were hot in the beginning and then we got complacent."
Since Aurora is blessed with some ridiculous talent, it can afford to coast from time to time.
Its opponent, on the other hand, couldn’t afford to put it in cruise control at any point of the game.
The Blue Devils were significantly shorter, more plodding and less athletic than their opponents Saturday.
If Tallmadge missed a shot or failed to grab a loose ball off the rim, the Greenmen pounced on their golden opportunities with aplomb.
"We knew going in that they’re good," Epstein said. "They have one of the better players in the area, if not the best."
Actually, you could make a strong argument that Aurora has two of the better players in the area.
And they both sleep in the same house.
Thanks to the Greenmen’s dynamic duo of sophomore point guard Shyanne Sellers and her older sister Shayla, a senior guard/forward who recently signed with Purdue Fort Wayne in Indiana, the Blue Devils were overmatched for much of the way on both ends of the floor.
Both players, along with some of their well-disciplined teammates, raised havoc on the defensive end.
Aurora forced 11 turnovers in the first eight minutes and despite some extremely cold outside shooting, led 19-7.
"Aurora could pretty much switch everything," Epstein said. "Ball screens are tough to do when the Sellers’ girls can switch onto our guards. With their size, they could defend the post and with their athleticism, they can defend the guards."
Taking a shot was a near impossible task for Tallmadge much of the afternoon, thanks to the quick hands of the Greenmen.
But Aurora couldn’t make much of anything from the outside.
Despite getting clean looks, the Greenmen found an alarming amount of iron.
Greenberg doesn’t mind seeing her team’s high amount of threes. She does take issue with her players going away from the game plan and firing away with reckless abandon.
"I think we were ready to play," Greenberg said. "We let the score influence our style of play. We stopped attacking; we just settled. We were just lazy at times."
In the end, Greenberg could breathe easy.
Shyanne wore black and green on this day and no matter what they threw at her, the Blue Devils couldn’t stop her.
The All-Ohio playmaker canned her first three shots — all 3-pointers — to give Aurora a 9-0 lead. Shyanne, who has been contacted by more than 20 Division I schools, finished with a game-high 26 points, including 21 in the first half.
The Greenmen had a comfortable 34-17 advantage at halftime.
"She played well," Greenberg said of Shyanne. "She came out hot; she hit some shots. She’s confident; she got it rolling. Still, there are some things she needs to clean up. It’s a work in progress for everybody."
Shyanne, who buried six 3-pointers, added eight rebounds as the Greenmen had a 32-25 edge on the glass.
"They’re a tough team to defend," Epstein said. "They have three consistently good girls around them (Shyanne and Shayla) who are good fundamental players.
"We rebounded the ball well in the first half. It kind of got away from us in the second half. There are some small-detail things that we have to work on to beat quality teams like that."
While Shyanne had her way offensively, her teammates struggled to find their rhythm.
The good news is Aurora had nine players score at least two points. The bad news is no other player scored more than seven points.
Junior guard Dylynn Lasky and freshman guard Mika Dalton each scored seven points for the Greenmen.
It’s not like the Aurora players didn’t have good looks.
Thanks to Shyanne’s speed and ability to find her teammates, the Greenmen had a number of wide-open shots. They just couldn’t locate the center of the hoop.
Despite the off-day from her teammates, Greenberg knows her star player won’t deviate from the plan. Shyanne is fully aware of how important the other players will be if the Greenmen are going to continue their reign on the American Conference throne.
"She’s a great teammate," Greenberg said. "She encourages her teammates; she’ll move the ball. She understands her role. If I need her to turn it on, she’ll turn it on."
Junior point guard Lizzie Bickar led Tallmadge (0-2, 0-1) with 14 points and senior guard Andreana Gotto contributed eight points.
Just six players scored at least two points for the Blue Devils, who also had massive difficulties finding the basket.
"They’re playing hard," Epstein said. "We just have to do a better job of implementing the game plans. When we told them what Aurora was going to do, they did and they hurt us."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.