Aurora Dawgs take home gold from Crane Tournament

Skylan Akins

Aurora Houn’ Dawg basketballers pose with their first place trophy at the Crane Tournament. (Photo by Skylan Akins)

The Aurora Houn’ Dawgs took first place in the Crane Tournament, which started back in early January, after defeating Monett, 68-67 in double overtime Saturday night. This comes at the end of a very busy four-game week that started with good showings against two of the best the Big 8 Conference has to offer in Springfield Catholic and Logan-Rogersville. The Houn' Dawgs dropped those two games, 69-49 to Catholic, and 52-49 in a thriller against Rogersville last Wednesday. The Dawgs were back in the win column Friday as a trip to Reeds Spring ended 60-51.
That brings us to Saturday’s Game of the Year nominee against the Cubs. Aurora started fast as a 12-2 run gave the Dawgs the lead early on. Monett hit a few more shots in the second quarter and trailed by only five at the half. Aurora dominated the pace out of the half extending the lead to 38-30 early in the third quarter. As in many rivalry games, Monett didn’t go away, as a Daniel Navarro bucket with 51 seconds left in the quarter brought the Cubs within two, 38-36.
The fourth quarter was when things got crazy. A Tyler Waterman trey gave the Cubs their first lead of the entire game 47-46. Aurora found themselves in major foul trouble soon after, as Sage Welch, Hayze Hoffman and Daunte Floyd would all pick up four fouls. Welch and Hoffman both picked up their fifth with about four minutes left to play. The two teams traded leads for the remainder of the game.
Monett went up four as the game hit under a minute left. Aurora star Jaesik Friggle got a bucket to fall with about 30 seconds remaining in the game to bring the game to 56-54. The Cubs held the ball for as long as they could until Aurora’s Ryan Clark drew a charge that would keep the Dawgs alive with 16 seconds left. Friggle took over again as he got a tough layup at the buzzer to fall, and they were headed to overtime.
The first overtime period was back and forth as neither team was able to stretch the lead beyond four. Each team had a chance to score with under 15 seconds left tied at 63. Friggle missed a contested layup opportunity with about five seconds left, which led to a fast break opportunity by the Cubs, but Monett's Waterman was too hard off the glass, which led to a second overtime.
Defense ruled the second OT as Clark got a bucket to fall on the opening possession of the sixth period. Navarro's two free throws had them tied at 50 seconds remaining.
Monett had possession until Clark draws his third charge of the game. Friggle got fouled on the ensuing possession to go up one. Monett’s Cam Ervin got two free throws to fall, putting his team up, 67-66, with 12 seconds left. With 5.2 seconds left, Friggle got the most important two points of his game high 27 to fall, with another near impossible finish in the paint as the Dawgs took home the trophy in Crane.
“That was a crazy good game. As much as I wanted to be in selfishly, I did what I could for my teammates; getting them water and telling them what I saw from the bench,” Aurora senior Sage Welch said. “We talked at Conway how motivating a third place trophy was. A first place trophy is so much better.”

The win moves Aurora to 16-7 on the year, with two more major match-ups this week, starting with a Big 8 showdown with Nevada on Tuesday, before traveling to Conway, Friday night.


Lawrence County Record

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