BATH TWP. — By all accounts and purposes, it was a disaster.
The Aurora boys basketball team, which entered the season with so much promise, sputtered mightily throughout the winter.
Fresh off its first district semifinal appearance in ages, the Greenmen finished a lackluster 7-17 after losing to host Revere 83-68 in their season finale. The Stow Division II sectional title contest took place Friday in Bath Township.
Aurora also finished just 2-10 in the Suburban League American Conference during the regular season.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it. The Greenmen stumbled time and time again.
Thus, third-year Aurora head coach T.J. Henderson was more than ready to put the forgettable 2019-20 season in the closet and lock the door for good.
It was an abomination in every way, shape and form, right?
Pardon Henderson if he doesn’t feel so harshly about his team’s lack of success.
He feels quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. Especially when it comes to his senior class.
"This group of seniors is absolutely fantastic," Henderson said. "Ups and downs, they kept this team together. They were positive. When some of them would get down on themselves, the other ones would just pick them all up."
So who are these extremely patient and encouraging gentlemen, who had a knack for steering the Greenmen ship away from a plethora of dangerous icebergs?
They are guards Ethan Hays, Jack Roche, Jack Deptola and Reece Herendeen and forward Lenny Feckner.
Sure, a 7-17 record isn’t exactly scintillating. It is what it brutally is: ghastly, woeful and considering the high expectations in November, downright infuriating.
Nevertheless, Aurora’s season didn’t completely sink into the abyss. Just like last winter, the Greenmen played their best basketball late in the season.
Prior to its showdown with the mighty Minutemen, Aurora earned three consecutive victories, including a 61-56 upset against Woodridge in its postseason opener.
Against Revere, which smacked the Greenmen around twice during the regular season, the Greenmen actually had their taller, deeper and more talented opponents on the ropes for nearly three full quarters.
In the end, though, this resilient "family," led by six honorable patriarchs, couldn’t quite pull off what many considered a near impossible task.
"We break a lot of huddles with family," Henderson said. "These kids truly became family. It hurts because I’ve been through that feeling: that last game, that realization of ‘Oh my gosh, this might be it.’ They did what they had to do."
And now, just like that, they are gone.
The five seniors will no longer wear their tank tops on West Pioneer Trail ever again.
While such an inevitable and cruel fact was hard for him to swallow, Henderson made sure he appreciated each member of his unflappable quintet one last time.
For the teary-eyed coach, nothing was more abominable than seeing them leave his locker room for good.
"They made this season a lot of fun," Henderson said. "Despite the record, which was frustrating, they’re awesome."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_Gannett.