Aurora -- As the youthful Aurora boys basketball team received its postseason draw, it learned a bit about value and taking one play at a time.
On Feb. 8, AHS lost a heartbreaking non-league road game 76-71 to Chardon (7-10) in two overtimes. Just a few days earlier in league play, the Greenmen fell to Kenston 49-46.
So it was two close games and two tight losses for the improving Greenmen (6-12), who are quickly learning a few things -- one of which is how to win close games.
"We have had some tough losses and some really close games that we could have won, but we are trying to get the kids to value the game and realize the importance," stressed head coach Jim Wallish.
"The guys have played very well, but late game turnovers have really hurt us. We're trying to emphasize the value of each possession and how the guys need to value each one down the stretch in games."
Senior guard Paul Kollat split a pair of free throws after a steal with 20 seconds left to force overtime at Chardon. Then in the first OT, he buried a 3-pointer with 5 seconds left to force a second extra session.
In the second OT, Chardon built a slight lead. AHS still had an opportunity, but Kollat's triple missed with 6 ticks left.
In the loss to Kenston, Kollat tallied 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Guard Joe Dinardo scored 8 points, followed by Pavel Galchenko with 7, Kyle Fayne 6, Drew Daff 5, Anthony Quaranto 4 and Parker Blunt 3.
Aurora will play in the Solon / Euclid Division I "blended" sectional-district tournament under the OHSAA's new format.
The locals, who were seeded 24th out of 26 in the two districts, will play Feb. 26 at Cleveland Heights (12-6) at 7 p.m.