I took my first glance at the Aurora girls basketball team in at least a few years back in 2017.
The Greenmen defeated Tallmadge to capture their first conference championship in 90 years.
What made the occasion even more delightful was the fact Aurora claimed the title on its home floor.
A major accomplishment like the one that took place two years ago should be and was cherished by the players and their coaching staff.
As the Greenmen’s rather cruel history has proven, winning isn’t particularly easy, especially if you’re a female basketball player representing the school on West Pioneer Trail.
It certainly wasn’t something to take for granted. Who knows if such a feat could be duplicated next year or possibly, five, 10 or — gulp — 90 years later.
Perhaps a celebration like the one that took place on that wonderful evening in 2017 could have been a once-in-a-lifetime achievement.
It certainly was when it last took place not long before the Great Depression.
Two years later, there are no such feelings of despondency and dejection at the school near Routes 43 and 82.
In fact, not only has this party continued, it’s more fervent than ever.
Aurora’s best season in school history came to a painful end Tuesday.
The Greenmen were soundly defeated to a very deep, very talented and very disciplined Canton GlenOak squad by a convincing 61-32 score.
The Division I, Region 1 semifinal contest took place at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.
It certainly wasn’t Aurora’s best performance. After two quarters of play, the Greenmen scored just 14 points and were facing a rather formidable 15-point deficit.
Aurora tried to crawl through a narrow tunnel, hoping to find an escape from its torturous detention center. But in the end, the prison guards disguised as Golden Eagles’ players, ruthlessly spoiled the getaway plan and returned the Greenmen back to their cells.
It was particularly harrowing for the Aurora contingent during the final eight minutes.
Already down by a baker’s dozen, GlenOak viciously turned out the lights on the Greenmen’s season with a barbaric 21-5 flurry.
When it was over, a group of dejected teenagers stared into space, not knowing what hit them.
It will eventually. But it will have nothing to do with their last game.
That’s because Aurora, which experienced a drought that was longer than the epic stretches of futility by both the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox (86 and 88 years, respectively), has been building quite an impressive dynasty since that glorious evening in 2017.
The Greenmen will enter the 2019-20 season as the reigning three-time Suburban League American Conference champions.
They also have a very impressive 26-game winning streak against their conference rivals.
This past winter, Aurora reached a district final for the first time. The Greenmen also won their first district championship and as a result, reached the Sweet Sixteen for the first time, as well.
Aurora finished 24-2, which included a magnificent 17-game winning streak. If you do the math, that’s a remarkable .923 winning percentage.
And what’s even more staggering is, the Greenmen one-upped their previous best season ever, which happened to take place just one year earlier.
Aurora had a sensational 21-3 record during the 2017-18 season.
So will this new era of excellence continue next winter and beyond?
It certainly looks promising.
As long as No. 23 suits up for the Greenmen, everything should be just dandy for the school in Portage County.
Sophomore point guard Shyanne Sellers, an All-Ohio selection as a freshman, had another brilliant season for the Greenmen.
She is expected to be joined by current junior guard Dylynn Lasky and three talented freshman guards who, like Sellers, thrived as first-time performers under the varsity lights.
They are Ava Ryncarz, Mika Dalton and Madison Burick. All three first-year varsity players earned Sweet-Sixteen minutes against the mighty Golden Eagles Tuesday.
The continued development of these young ladies will be pivotal if the party plans to continue on West Pioneer Trail.
That’s because the Greenmen said goodbye to four gifted seniors.
They are guards Shayla Sellers, Shyanne’s older sister who plans to continue her academic and basketball careers at Purdue University Fort Wayne in Indiana; Haley Ross, who plans to play college basketball at Marietta College; Julia Mazanec, a starter who plans to play softball at Kent State University; and Becca Crawford, who recently committed to play softball at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.
I give my best wishes to these four young women as they get closer to their final days at the not particularly large high school.
As for the rest of the girls, this party is far from over.
Their festivities extended to Stark County this winter. Their next step is to take this jamboree even further south to an even more prestigious venue.
That would be the state tournament in Columbus.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.