by STEVE BATKO
Aurora -- Hard work is paying off for the Aurora High School boys basket ball team, but it's just not showing up in the win / loss column.
Aurora played Dec. 21 at Streetsboro and fell 40-37. The Greenmen (2-5) nearly pulled off a huge upset with a fierce comeback, but it was too little, too late, as unbeaten Streetsboro led by 10 points after three quarters, but held on to nip the Greenmen.
Streetsboro (6-0) jumped out to an early advantage and led 9-4 after the first quarter as Aurora continued to hang around. It was 21-14 at the half. Extending the lead to 37-26 going into the final quarter, Streetsboro appeared to be in control.
However, Aurora outscored the hosts 11-4 in the final period. The Greenmen had some opportunities to close the gap, but couldn't.
Head coach Jim Wallish has talked about his club's improvement and also getting rewarded for that work as well.
"With more and more practice and court time, this team will continue to improve," he said.
Senior guard Paul Kollat led with 16 points as he had the hot hand. He buried two 3-pointers. Pavel Galchenko, a junior post, added 8 points, while junior guard Nick Ely had 4 and sophomore Parker Blunt had 3.
Seniors Anthony Quaranto and Joe Dinardo and junior Michael Durkin each had 2 points. The Rockets were led by forward Paul Jenkins with 21.
Meanwhile, Aurora lost 69-38 on Dec. 17 to Gilmour Academy (5-1), which won its fifth straight game.
The locals trailed 21-13 after the first quarter and then Gilmour busted it wide open with a 28-9 second quarter.
Colin Zucker, a 6-foot guard,drilled Aurora for 24 points. The Lancers feature 11 seniors.
"It always seems like Gilmour has skilled players and good athletes, plus they are a well-coached team," said Wallish.
Aurora was led by Kollat's 10 points, Durkin tossed in 7, Galchenko, Ely and Dinardo each had 4, senior Drew Daff added a 3-pointer and Quaranto had a bucket.
In non-league play coming up, Aurora plays Dec. 27 at Twinsburg and hosts Parma Padua on Dec. 30. The locals (1-1 in the Chagrin alley Conference Chagrin division) then host Painesville Harvey on Jan. 4 and West Geauga on Jan. 7 in league games.