AURORA — They have won four in a row, and they continued their dominance in conference play.
Nevertheless, there seems to be a sneaky suspicion that life isn’t particularly peachy for the land of green, though. There certainly were some mixed feelings Wednesday night.
In the end, the Greenmen got the result they wanted. Pardon the Aurora players if they prefer to put parade plans on hold, though.
The host Greenmen earned a nail-biting 50-49 victory over Barberton in a Suburban League American Conference girls basketball contest.
With the win, Aurora improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the conference. The Magics dropped to 1-4 overall and 1-3 in the conference.
Of course, those records meant absolutely nothing when the two teams locked horns on West Pioneer Trail.
Barberton gave the three-time defending American Conference champions all they could handle. And that wasn’t exactly thrilling news for Greenmen head coach Erika Greenberg, who didn’t sugarcoat her team’s subpar performance.
"We just need to get better," she said. "We won, but we’re not happy with it. We have a tough stretch coming up, so we have to be ready to go."
The Magics, on the other hand, had no issues with being "ready to go" Wednesday. In fact, they had a chance to win in the final seconds.
However, Aurora’s defense put it together when it was absolutely needed most.
First, the Greenmen stalled some time by using one of their fouls to give and force Barberton to reset its offense.
And then Aurora used its lockdown defense to force a long 3-point attempt at the buzzer. Fortunately for the Greenmen, that final heave didn’t come anywhere close to reaching the basket.
Aurora led by as many as seven (34-27) midway through the third quarter, but Barberton’s feisty players stayed within striking distance of the mighty Greenmen throughout the game.
Aurora junior point guard Shyanne Sellers, who played in front of University of Maryland head coach Brenda Frese and Michigan State University head coach Suzy Merchant along with an assistant coach from Florida State University, scored a game-high 16 points and dished out a handful of assists.
However, the Greenmen’s All-Ohio playmaker had some turnover issues and she was plagued by foul trouble in the first half.
"I think she was distracted," Greenberg said. "The first quarter, I kept seeing her kind of look over. It’s hard not to. You’re a high school kid and you have two head coaches here and an assistant from big-time schools. It’s hard not to be [distracted]."
Fortunately for Aurora, other players picked up the slack.
Mika Dalton, the Greenmen’s 5-foot-2 guard, scored 12 points and drained a pair of 3-pointers.
Dalton and the rest of her teammates held the fort rather admirably when their franchise player was forced to the bench after picking up her second foul.
"I thought they did a really good job," Greenberg said. "We moved the ball well. I thought people stepped up. We played relatively good defense. I thought our other girls did really well [Wednesday]."
Aurora also got eight rebounds from the neverending motor of senior guard Dylynn Lasky. The Greenmen, who finished with 20 turnovers, had a 31-25 edge on the glass.
"She’s go-go-go," Greenberg said of Lasky. "She’s probably one of our best on-the-ball defenders. We rely on her for a lot. She runs the floor hard; she crashes the boards; she’s super athletic and super fast.
"She’s always positive. No matter what’s going on with her game, she tries to stay positive for the rest of the team. She’s awesome."
The Magics were able to stay with Aurora, thanks mainly to their 3-point shooting. Barberton knocked down eight triples, including five after halftime.
Junior guards Brenna Walker and Hailey Haywood finished with 13 points apiece and connected on seven attempts from downtown for the Magics.
With more accomplished American Conference squads eagerly waiting to topple the Greenmen’s regime, Aurora will need to get its act together quickly.
The Greenmen also have dates with defending Suburban League National Conference champion Wadsworth and current National Conference leader Nordonia lurking in the near future.
Therefore, the Greenmen are hoping their superstar can get back on track. When that happens, everyone benefits, according to Greenberg.
"It’s hard because we feed off of her," she said. "When she’s off, it seems like the rest of us feel off. I feel like we never got into an offensive rhythm and I feel like that was part of our problem. We didn’t move; we just stood. That was difficult."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.