AURORA — When her team couldn’t stop throwing the ball away or tossing up brick after brick, it would have been quite understandable if Erika Greenberg blew a gasket of astronomical proportions.
But the Aurora 11th-year head girls basketball coach showed no such signs of unleashing a full-fledged meltdown.
"I’m trying not to overreact," Greenberg said.
Fortunately for their coach, the Greenmen certainly didn’t.
In the long run, they had something their opponents couldn’t overcome no matter how hard they tried.
Aurora had Shyanne Sellers.
Sellers made the Greenmen’s gymnasium her own backyard as Aurora cruised to a 56-42 victory over Chardon Notre Dame Cathedral Latin Thursday.
Sellers, who saw limited action in the second quarter due to a pair of fouls, scored 17 points in the third.
Thanks to their super sophomore point guard’s out-of-nowhere explosion, the Greenmen (8-1) outscored the Lions 27-10 in the period to take a comfortable 44-24 lead.
At that point, NDCL didn’t have a chance. As for Aurora, Greenberg proved a line from the fifth-century poem "Pyschomania" by Prudentius still holds significant value.
"Patience is a virtue."
"I think the players follow the coach," Greenberg said. "If I freak out, the players freak out."
It’s easy to calm your nerves when you have a gifted sophomore point guard filling it up.
Sellers knocked down six 3-pointers and also pushed the tempo to levels that were much too fast for the Lions (4-3) when she grabbed defensive rebounds.
She also showcased a little playground majesty with her smooth crossover dribble and ball fakes.
As a result, Sellers, who scored a game-high and career-high 33 points, turned a very interesting game into a massacre before you could blink.
"Sometimes, she’s so talented that she can go whenever she wants," Greenberg said of Sellers.
Oddly enough, this savage rampage took place immediately after the Greenmen put together their worst eight minutes of the season.
It actually might have been their worst eight minutes since Greenberg found her way to West Pioneer Trail more than a decade ago.
Aurora’s second quarter looked something like this: one point, seven turnovers and 0-of-8 shooting.
As a result, NDCL rallied from a 16-2 deficit to eventually tie the game at 20 early in the third period.
Of course, it didn’t help that Sellers’ older sister, Shayla, a senior guard, and teammate, Haley Ross, another senior guard, also were spectators for much of the second quarter, thanks to foul trouble.
"That really throws us off," Greenberg said. "I think our girls felt a little bit of panic. We didn’t handle the pressure the way that we should have."
There were no such issues after halftime, thanks to a certain dynamo playmaker.
Shyanne added eight rebounds, two steals, two blocks and her fair share of flashy assists for the Greenmen.
The sophomore has put up her share of points thus far. However, if Shyanne is going to lead Aurora into uncharted territory down the road, making sure there is enough for her teammates to eat will be vital.
"We’re trying to still jell as a team," Greenberg said. "We’re trying to share the ball a little bit more and get people involved, so we feel a flow of the game."
Thus far, not much has gone wrong for the Greenmen. They’ve enjoyed wins over traditionally strong programs such as Olmsted Falls and Stow-Munroe Falls.
Nonetheless, winning isn’t everything.
To achieve its lofty goals of making a deep run in the postseason, the final score is just a minute part of the equation for a team like Aurora.
"Sometimes, when the kids win, they think they did everything well," Greenberg said. "I’m not saying you have to lose to learn, but sometimes, it makes it sting a little bit more."
That sting was felt last Saturday when a Suburban League crossover rival scored on a buzzer beater to hand the Greenmen their only loss.
Nordonia, which has struggled thus far, stunned Aurora 57-56 on the Greenmen’s own floor.
Again, Greenberg chose not to allow her face to turn red when that contest concluded. On the other hand, her decision to stay calm didn’t stop her from sending chills down her players’ spines with some cold-hearted statements.
"In the locker room after the Nordonia game, I said, ‘I’m not even mad that we lost,’" Greenberg said. "You deserve to lose that game. We didn’t play well enough to win and we deserved to lose."
Besides the second-quarter debacle on Thursday, the Greenmen were shoved around near the basket.
The Lions had a 37-20 edge on the glass. Leading the way was sophomore Ally Ziegler, who finished with 14 points and a game-high 18 rebounds.
"I don’t think we did a good job with the boards," Greenberg said. "There were things that did not go well that we need to clean up. Against elite teams, that’s not going to fly."
Greenberg knows there is plenty of time to craft, mold and shape her players into the performers she knows they can be.
And believe it or not, it may take a few more fender benders to do so.
"I think we’ll get it together by tournament time," Greenberg said. "That’s my hope. We might lose the next couple of games if we don’t get it together."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.