AURORA — It’s entertaining, aesthetically pleasing and it certainly gets their home fans rowdy.
The Greenmen’s push-first, think-later strategy has led to a snowfall of buckets throughout the season.
Unfortunately, a large number of those baskets have taken place on the wrong end of the floor.
Regardless, second-year head coach T.J. Henderson isn’t going to change a thing.
The Aurora boys basketball team is going to turn every game into the 100-meter dash. If the opponents beat the Greenmen to the finish line, so be it.
"As a program, that’s what the kids enjoy, so that’s what we’re going to run with," Henderson said.
If a timer was used, the Greenmen certainly put up a more than respectable clocking on Saturday. However, much like their opponents in recent weeks, their latest adversary broke the tape first.
Host Aurora dropped its third consecutive game, losing to Gates Mills Gilmour Academy 96-77.
With the loss, the Greenmen fell to 6-4 on the season. The Lancers, who play in the vaunted North Coast League, improved to 9-2.
In Aurora’s last three defeats, the opponents have averaged nearly 94 points per 32 minutes.
Nonetheless, the Greenmen’s personnel isn’t built to plod or grind its way to victories. Aurora’s roster features athletes who like to attack off the dribble, shoot off the catch and run, run and run some more, particularly when the transition opportunities are plentiful.
"With having the tallest guy 6-4 (6 feet, 4 inches) and no one else really above 6-2, that’s the style of play we have to play," Henderson said. "We have to try and run the floor and wear out teams."
Gilmour gladly accepted being a participant in this high-speed chase.
In fact, the Lancers relished it.
Thanks mainly to C.J. Charleston, who ran for more than 2,500 yards and 50 touchdowns for Gilmour’s football team during the fall, the Lancers exploded in the first half.
If Charleston unloaded, the Greenmen were in peril. That’s because the 5-10 senior guard lit up Aurora for 27 points, including seven 3-pointers.
As a result, Gilmour, which made a mind-boggling 15 triples on the evening, had a 59-30 advantage at halftime.
"They’re phenomenal," Henderson said of the Lancers. "They shot well from beyond the arc. It’s tough to guard a team that hits shots like that unless you’re hitting shots like that."
True to form, the Greenmen continued to floor the gas pedal. And they actually made the high-powered Lancers sweat a little bit early in the fourth quarter.
When senior forward Jack Arnold buried a turnaround jumper, Gilmour’s once insurmountable lead was just 14 (76-62).
Charleston, who finished with a game-high 33 points, cooled off considerably as the same shots that were touching nothing but nylon were finding rim in the final 16 minutes.
"To me, that shows us we can play with it and get after it," Henderson said. "In the first half, not knowing where we should be at sort of hurt us and put us in a hole."
Fortunately for the Lancers, Connor O’Toole came to the rescue.
The 6-3 junior guard scored 11 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter. Like Charleston, he knocked down seven 3-pointers, including three in the final eight minutes.
While the three-ball was the Lancers’ modus operandi on this night, Gilmour also got countless chippies, thanks to stellar ball movement and a near flawless ability to push the tempo to near reckless levels as well.
Junior guard Ian Miller and senior guard Ryan Coan took advantage of the free-for-all offense with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Aurora also utilized an offense-by-committee approach.
Sophomore forward Jack Fecko, who may be the Greenmen’s lone true post player, led the way with 16 points.
Sophomore guard Gabriel Elsawy finished with 15 points and junior guard/forward Ethan Hays scored 14 for Aurora, which made six 3-pointers and 11 of 17 shots from the foul line.
Senior point guard Cooper Bizjak, who is the conductor of the Greenmen’s warp-speed attack, scored 11 points.
"I’m really proud of a lot of the guys," Henderson said. "I was really proud of the effort in the second half. I challenged the guys at halftime.
"It’s simple: We could have either put our tail between our legs or we could come out swinging and grit our teeth and get after it. They showed what we could be."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.