AURORA — The late military journalist and former United States Army colonel David Hackworth once made a rather chilling remark about the dangers of presumption.
“It’s human nature to start taking things for granted again when danger isn’t banging loudly on the door.”
Pardon the members of the Aurora girls basketball team if they may have felt like Josh and Renai Lambert a few times during the winter.
Let’s just say the Greenmen’s journey to yet another conference title has featured its fair share of “Insidious” threats.
Fortunately for these resilient teenagers, their brief travel to the “astral plane” showed no signs of creepy paranormal activity.
Instead, Aurora’s conference opponents are forced to spend another year in a dreary purgatory realm.
Until “Further” notice, at least.
Thanks to their “supernatural” powers, the Greenmen captured their fourth consecutive Suburban League American Conference championship.
That became official when Aurora cruised to a 61-42 home victory over Revere Wednesday evening. With the win, the Greenmen improved to 11-0 in the conference with one game remaining.
Since Highland has two losses, Aurora can claim the trophy all to itself. For a group of young ladies who call West Pioneer Trail their second home, cutting down the nets never gets old.
And unlike a terrifying elderly woman in a certain 2010 American-Canadian supernatural horror film, the Greenmen’s latest title run shows no signs of dissolving into darkness.
“It’s very satisfying,” said senior forward Katie Houlahan, a four-year varsity player. “We’re just trying to make every moment count and just play our hearts out for our last year.”
For Houlahan and classmates Dylynn Lasky, Eliza Wykoff, Ashley Ruehr, Kendyl Trem and Allison Slaw, late American writer Kurt Vonnegut may describe their groundbreaking careers best.
“Enjoy the little things in life because one day, you will look back and realize they were the big things.”
Thus, when these six accomplished “soldiers” leave town for good, they will no longer march in their beloved “green” platoon, which will soon begin plans to write its own version of “Slaughterhouse-Five.”
“It’s actually pretty amazing to do it four years in a row,” Houlahan said. “Coming in and winning it my freshman year for the first time in like, 90 years, it was really crazy. And then we just kept grinding and kept doing it every year since. It’s awesome.”
It wasn’t particularly “awesome” before Houlahan and her pals became members of this now famous “Greenhouse Gang.”
Prior to Houlahan’s first title during her freshman year, Aurora did not win a league championship since 1927.
Such a widespread and serious drought seems unthinkable nowadays.
The win against the Minutemen is the Greenmen’s 37th consecutive victory over American Conference opponents.
Due to this excessive wealth of riches, Houlahan and the rest of her senior cronies have found it extremely challenging to crack Aurora’s star-laden starting lineup.
Nevertheless, their mostly behind-the-scenes contributions have been nothing short of remarkable to the Greenmen’s overwhelming success.
“They are a really, really great group of kids,” Aurora head coach Erika Greenberg said. “Not only basketball-wise, they’re just really good kids. They’re involved in a lot; they do a lot of service; they get good grades.
“It’s just really a good group that has been together for a long time so it’s nice to see them achieve good things.”
Those “good things” certainly didn’t occur without a few traces of hardship.
As the former decorated colonel bluntly stated, the Greenmen haven’t been completely devoid of “danger” that had been “banging loudly on the door.”
Aurora rallied from two double-digit deficits to earn last-second victories over the Hornets. The Greenmen also went down to the wire to swat away a very pesky Barberton squad, as well.
In the end, these “photo” finishes certainly proved how “possessed” Aurora was when it came to defending its rightful place on the conference throne.
“It’s like a winning mentality,” Greenberg said. “Even if we’re down, we still think we can come back. That has transcended Aurora basketball a little bit. We used to be down 10, 15 and it was like, ‘Ah, here we go again.’
“Now when we’re down 10 or 15, it’s like, ‘OK, let’s go. We have to go now.’ It’s just a different mentality.”
It sure is.
As for Houlahan, she could be considered the team’s Elise Rainier. That’s because she relishes her unexplainable powers of extrasensory perception.
Particularly in nail-biters during crunch time.
“The games that are down to the last second are definitely a lot more fun to play because you get more into it,” Houlahan said.
Houlahan won’t have trouble getting “more into it” in the future.
She wouldn’t dare take this neverending magic carpet ride for granted.
For Houlahan, Lebanon-born American financier Ziad Abdelnour may have said it best.
“Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.”
Houlahan certainly does. When it comes to the blue-collar post player, her appreciation goes far beyond championship banners or dramatic victories.
“I wouldn’t want to play with any other girls or any other coaches,” Houlahan said.
Although she got to eat yet another American Conference pie, Houlahan, like American singer Don McLean, doesn’t want the rest of February to make her “shiver.”
Houlahan and Co. are seeking a second consecutive Division I district championship. And just as they did for their four-pack of conference prizes, the Greenmen will do everything they can to prevent the “jester” from “stealing” their not so “thorny crown.”
They’re in no hurry to see a mysterious “bride in black” blow out their sweet-smelling candle either.
“We’re not done yet,” Houlahan said. “We’re definitely looking to cut down another net.”
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, email@example.com or @FrankAceto_RPC.