TWINSBURG — The two teams have had an intense rivalry since both of them make their home near Route 82.
However, Aurora head boys basketball coach T.J. Henderson has nothing but fondness for a certain man who happens to be Twinsburg’s head man.
That would be longtime head coach Phil Schmook.
"He has been sort of the guy I reach out to since I’ve been here," Henderson said.
On Friday, the teacher still had a few tricks for the student. As a result, the Greenmen’s struggles continued.
Aurora lost for the 10th time in its last 11 games after falling to the host Tigers 62-44 in a Suburban League crossover showdown.
Twinsburg (13-6), which saw its National Conference title hopes teetering on the brink after a devastating 50-48 loss to Stow-Munroe Falls Friday, took control in the second half to put it away.
The Tigers outscored Aurora 36-22 after halftime, including 16-8 in the final eight minutes.
Twinsburg took control, thanks to its overwhelming speed and athleticism. More importantly, the Tigers stymied Aurora with their suffocating defense, which led to 16 Greenmen turnovers.
"We talked at halftime about them wanting to come out and run on us because that’s the kind of team they are," Henderson said. "Schmook is a fantastic coach. I’ve known him for most of my life. We sort of knew, coming into the game, what we thought he would do."
Bottling up a certain silky smooth guard may have had something to do with it.
Twinsburg made Aurora’s star a complete nonfactor. Such a task has been just about impossible for everyone else.
Senior Ethan Hays, who has scored nearly 40 points twice this season, finished with just a modest seven points for the Greenmen.
"They took Ethan out of the game a little bit," Henderson said. "We didn’t make plays in the third quarter that we normally do."
Despite the Tigers’ efforts to turn the contest into a 100-yard dash, Aurora stood toe-to-toe with its more talented opponents in the first 16 minutes.
Twinsburg’s struggles to hold onto the ball certainly didn’t hurt the Greenmen either. The Tigers, who led 10-2 early, committed 18 turnovers during the evening.
"We fought and clawed in the first half," Henderson said. "We actually started off a little slow, which hurt us, but we came back and bounced back. I was really happy with the effort."
It looked like Twinsburg was going to put the contest out of reach late in the third quarter. Nevertheless, Aurora cut its deficit to 10 (46-36) by scoring five of the last seven points to close the period.
"We did really well, clawing it back to 10," Henderson said. "It was like, ‘OK, here we go. We have to go on a run.’ We never did get that couple buckets in a row to get us into that momentum swing."
The Tigers left the Greenmen in the dust with a 14-2 run to open the fourth quarter.
Anthony McCarthy led Twinsburg with a game-high 20 points and Ken McElrath scored 15 points for the Tigers. Dante’ Yarbrough added 14 points for Twinsburg.
Johnathan Ugran led Aurora (4-13) with 11 points. Just two of those points took place after the first quarter.
Logan Keilin finished with 10 points and Gabe Elsway had nine points.
After the game, Henderson and his staff, which includes his father, Thomas Henderson, spent several minutes talking to Schmook.
Rumor has it that there were no shouting matches between the two sides.
"He was at Richmond Heights when I was playing," Henderson said of Schmook. "He coached when my dad was coaching. When I went to Maple [Heights] right after he left Maple, we talked a lot about certain things
"We knew each other just through coaching. He’s always really honest, a great guy and one heck of a basketball coach."
Henderson’s team, on the other hand, can’t seem to find its mojo.
The Greenmen dropped to 1-9 in the Suburban League American Conference after losing to Highland 86-76 Friday.
Alex Jaworski scored a game-high 37 points for the Hornets. He also knocked down five of Highland’s eight 3-pointers.
Bryce Profitt added 24 points for Highland (6-11, 3-6), which outscored Aurora 27-11 in the final eight minutes.
Hays led the Greenmen, who trailed 25-14 after the first quarter, with 29 points. He finished with five 3-pointers.
Lenny Feckner added 18 points and Gabe Elsawy swished four 3-pointers and scored 14 points for Aurora, which converted 11 triples.
Despite a stellar night on offense, the Greenmen couldn’t keep up with the high-scoring Magics Feb. 4.
Host Aurora lost to Barberton 88-78 in a Suburban League American Conference showdown.
The Magics outscored the Greenmen 29-15 in the final eight minutes. Aurora made 11 3-pointers, including five from Hays, who scored a team-high 25 points.
Feckner contributed 14 points and Elsawy added 12 points for the Greenmen.
Jamair Blackmon led Barberton with a game-high 26 points. Bennett Miller added 20 points for the Magics.
Aurora received the 10th seed at the Stow-Munroe Falls Division II sectional-district tournament.
The Greenmen are scheduled to visit seventh-seeded Woodridge in a sectional semifinal game Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary earned the top seed and Revere, Streetsboro and Gates Mills Gilmour Academy got the second, third and fourth seeds, respectively.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_Gannett.