Aurora -- A win is a win -- especially after posting only one the entire 2012-13 campaign -- but it was how the Aurora High boys basketball team did it against Perry in the 2013-14 Chagrin Valley Conference opener.
The Greenmen (1-1) fought adversity to beat the Pirates 54-42 behind a monstrous 28-8 fourth quarter at Spectator Gym on Dec. 7.
Head coach Jim Wallish saw his club battle through three starters being saddled with two fouls each early on.
"Our kids really picked it up and fed off of each other as our bench players were ready to go," stressed Wallish, whose club was tied at 22 at the half. Perry was 0-1, 0-3 heading into this week's action.
Junior guard Joe Dinardo exploded for 19 points off of the bench to pace Aurora's attack.
"Joe had a great game off the bench, but all of our kids really showed a chip on their shoulder," said the mentor.
A 5-foot-9 speedster, Dinardo is normally a starter, but missed practice because of a deep bruise above his knee.
Aurora forced a whopping 17 second half turnovers to key the win, as the Greenmen used a trapping defense to force the issue, especially in the fourth quarter.
"We really had a tremendous defensive effort; our trapping defense was effective," said Wallish.
"I think at one point, we had about four or five steals in a row and the big thing was that we converted those into buckets each time. It was huge for us."
Senior guard Paul Kollat popped in 10 points, while senior forward Joe Roberto scored 7, and sophomore guard Parker Blunt netted 6.
Guard Michael Durkin, a junior, added 4 points. Pitching in 2 points each were senior forward Drew Daff, senior forward Anthony Quaranto, junior forward Pavel Galchenko and sophomore post Kyle Fayne.
Meanwhile, in the home opener on Dec. 3, Aurora fell to Nordonia (2-0) 66-50. Kollat poured in 14 points, while Dinardo had 10.
Tallyingt points each were junior guard Nick Ely, Galchenko and Durkin. Quaranto scored 4, Roberto 3 and Daff and Fayne each had 2.
In upcoming action, the Greenmen host Berkshire on Dec. 12 and Chagrin Falls in league action Dec. 14, then travel to Gilmour Academy on Dec. 17 and Streetsboro on Dec. 21.