Aurora downs Mt. Vernon in Law. Co. showdown

Jaesik Friggle goes full Jumpman as he drives to the hoop. Friggle scored 23 as the Houn’ Dawgs snapped a five-game losing streak to arch rival Mt. Vernon. (Photo by Skylan Akins)

 The Mt. Vernon-Aurora rivalry runs deep. Those who have played in it, don’t forget it. Recently, the Mt. Vernon Mt’neers have dominated the rivalry, to the point to where it's hard to call it a rivalry. Since 2008, Aurora has only bested Mt. Vernon twice. Once in 2009, and once in 2018. The Mt’neers have come out on top 14 times in that stretch. However, make no mistake, these teams do not like each other.
“I have been at five schools and only two of them have been blessed with a natural rivalry. This one is one of the best I’ve seen so I have talked to the guys about how fortunate we are to have a rivalry like this,” said Aurora coach Adam Thornhill.

Aurora looking tough
Mt. Vernon has won the previous five matchups, but if the Mt'neers wanted to make it six, they were going to have to overcome adversity. First, Aurora is enjoying its best start since the 2015 season. They are loaded with talent and learning to win as a culture. Secondly, the Mt’neers would have to do it without a pair of senior leaders in Kai Brown (COVID) and Sam Herbert (hand).

Thanks to a tight defense from Aurora, the Dawgs managed  a 13-4 lead after the first quarter. Aurora tightened up their full court pressure in the second quarter and started forcing more turnovers. Mt. Vernon was able to get a few more shots to fall. Jarrett Zerby and Clayton Turner were both able to get four points to fall in the quarter, but it was a bucket by Tristan Jones that brought the Mt’neers back within three as a 6-0 Mt’neer run brought the score to 13-10. Aurora’s Tranden Darnell responded with his only three of the game and the Dawgs were running again. Six Houn’ Dawgs scored in the quarter, extending their lead to 35-18 at the half.

Jaesik Friggle and the Houn’ Dawg defense shined again as Friggle erupted for nine points alone in the third quarter. On the other end, one bucket each from Dominic Dawson and Jones would be all the Mt’neers could muster. Sage Welch and Kelton Brown both managed a three and the Houn’ Dawg lead swell to 30 points, 52-22.

With the turbo clock running, the end was near. As time expired, a student section who had never seen the Dawgs defeat the Mt’neers rushed the floor in celebration of a 60-27 dismantlement over their arch rival.

“The last three teams to beat Mt. Vernon was the Matt Miller team four years ago. Before that it was the Logan Bader group. Then you had the Ryan Carmichael group that got it done. All of those teams were quarterfinal or should have been a quarterfinal team. To be among those three means a lot,” Thornhill said following the win.
“This was an emotion filled game, but never was emotional which is important. These emotions drive you as 17- and 18-year-olds and with the Blue and Gold coming up it is going to be important moving forward.”

“That was a great team win. Everyone contributed. Our bench and our student section. The whole community was here to get us hyped up. It was a great team win against our arch rivals,” Aurora senior Sage Welch said.

Aurora scorers
Friggle led the Dawgs and the game with 23 points. Welch was right behind him with 13. Daunte Floyd and Hayze Hoffman both added seven while  Kohen Abramovitz, Kelton Brown, and Trandan Darnell each had a three-ball fall. Cameron Savage rounded up scoring for Aurora with two.

Mt. Vernon scorers
Tristan Jones led the way for Mt. Vernon with 10 points. Jarrett Zerby got six to fall while Clayton Turner and Dominic Dawson each had four. Julian Hernandez had three.

Next up
The Mt’neers move to 0-7 for the season after also falling to East Newton on Saturday. They had one more matchup against Fair Grove, Tuesday, before the holiday break to prepare for top-seeded Nixa in the Blue and Gold, Monday.
Aurora moves to 4-2 on the year with the win. They are off until they see the other No. 1 seed in the Blue and Gold Tournament, Bolivar.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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