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by ROB BARRONE | CORRESPONDENT
Aurora -- After five straight losses to start the season, Aurora's varsity boys basketball team notched victory No. 1, 52-50, over Streetsboro on Dec. 22.
Joe Dinardo buried a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to life the hosts to their first win. The Greenmen headed into the final period down by 2 points, as the Rockets (3-3) led 38-36.
Aurora was up 50-47 with nine seconds left, but Streetsboro's Jordan Matusik hit a three to tie it.
Dinardo and Pavel Galchenko tossed in 11 points each to lead the Greenmen, who will host Twinsburg on Dec. 28.
One night earlier, AHS was pasted by Hudson 68-34 on the first night of major snowfall in Northeast Ohio.
It didn't take long for Hudson to take control as it jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a three-pointer by senior Zack Brandy just nine seconds into the game.
The Explorers had leads of 17-2 late in the first quarter and 19-7 at the first stop, 32-16 at intermission and 52-32 after three periods.
Despite the wide margin of defeat AHS coach Jim Wallish saw bright spots in his squad's effort.
"Games like these aren't fun to play in, but you can find out a lot about character," the first year mentor noted. "Who's going to battle with you? Who's going to get hit in the mouth and get right back-up? How do you respond when things don't go right? A lot of our players showed they were not going to back down."
But no matter what combination of five Hudson coach Jeff Brink assembled on the floor; the Explorers had the upper hand. Brink emptied his bench early, playing all who dressed.
JUNIOR KEVIN Zullo led the Explorers off the bench with a career-high 18 points, including 6 of 9 3-pointers.
Aurora's top scorer was Paul Kollat, who did most of his scoring in the final eight minutes. The junior ended the night 5 of 11 from the floor for 12 points, 10 of those coming in the fourth quarter. While the starting guard ended his night strong, it wasn't that way early for the Greenmen starting five.
Aurora committed eight turnovers in the game's first 5 1/2 minutes. The Explorers ran off 12 straight points in the first period to stretch a 5-2 edge to 17-2.
If there was any hope for the visiting Greenmen, it disappeared early in the second half. On their first five possessions, Aurora drew iron on their shots and Hudson came away with all five caroms. The Explorers lead climbed to 41-16 as the hosts took care of business at the offensive end as well.
"We had made a lot of good, positive strides in the past two games (losses to Perry 41-37 and Gilmour 71-63)," Wallish added. "This was a little bit of a step back for us, unfortunately. These are very, very good kids who work really hard. I wish they could win a couple games so they could have some fun, because right now they are a little bummed-out and that's unfortunate because they are good kids."
Against Gilmour Academy earlier in the week, the Lancers dominated first-half play, leading 38-28 at halftime, but the Greenmen outscored Gilmour by one point in each of the final two quarters.
Dinardo and Kendall Fayne led the locals with 15 points each, while Ben Branscom had 9 and Kollat 7. Colin Zucker had 20 and David Linane had 19 for the Lancers.