Aurora girls record first tourney win in years

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FROM STAFF REPORTS

Akron -- In recent years, tournament victories have been scarce for the Greenmen varsity girls basketball squad. But one finally came Feb. 21, and now Aurora has the ominous task of facing the defending Division I state champion.

Taking advantage of free throws and getting several blocked shots from Camilla Brown, the Greenmen (16-7) mounted a 16-point lead in the third quarter, then saw it chopped to 5 points before holding on for a 45-35 victory over Boardman (10-14).

That brings about a district semifinal contest against undefeated Twinsburg, a 74-31 winner over Warren Harding last week. Previous to that, the Tigers beat Youngstown East 79-28. The AHS-Twinsburg contest will be Feb. 28 at 5:45 p.m. at Akron Ellet High School.

Aurora streaked to a 10-6 lead in the first quarter and was up 14-11 at the end of the period. The locals extended the lead to 27-16 at halftime, then were outscored 12-7 in the third period, thus taking a 34-28 lead into the final period, when they outscored Boardman 11-8.

Coach Erika Schultz said the win was the first in her five seasons at the helm, and apparently the first in many years.

"We attacked the paint," Schultz said. "Our post players were better than theirs and we took advantage of that. Their best girl got into foul trouble and we used our size to our advantage."

The Greenmen outscored the Spartans 16-9 from the free throw line.

CAMILLA BROWN led the charge with 14 points -- 4 from the line -- while Allison Howard added 13 points -- 7 from the line. Erin McNamara had 7 points, Danielle Lasky added 5 and Hannah Garnek 4.

"Howard and Brown really did a great job offensively and defensively," said Schultz. "Brown is one of the best shot blockers in Northeast Ohio. She uses her length to her advantage and reads the ball well.

"Our defense was all right for the most part, but we had some breakdowns and miscommunication, but the girls played hard on defense, which is all you can ask for."

In its win over Warren Harding, Twinsburg (24-0) was led by Brooke Smith's 20 points, Ashley Morrisette's 16 and Baleigh Reid's 12.

Morrisette, who is headed to Purdue University, leads the Tigers with about an 18-point per game average, while Smith, who is headed to Cleveland State, averages about 16.

Brown and Howard average about 14 points a game for the Greenmen.

"About Twinsburg, I've told girls we have nothing to lose," said Schultz. "They must play as hard as they can and see what happens. Twinsburg is a powerhouse. We'll do our best to compete. Hopefully, our girls will play their hearts out and leave everything on he court with no regrets. That's all you can ask for as a coach."

In the 8 p.m. semifinal game Feb. 28, Hudson (19-5) will face Walsh Jesuit (17-7). The final will take place March 2 at 1 p.m. Ellet High School is on the east side of Akron.

The Akron district champion will take on the Parma district champion in regional play in Canton. The Perry and Bedford district champions will battle in the other regional semifinal contest.

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