Picking up a Big 8 Conference win over Seneca, the Aurora Houn’ Dawgs treated fans in attendance at the homecoming game with their highest-scoring game of the season last Friday. With the win, the Dawgs improved to an overall record of 9-12, with a 2-1 record in Big 8 play.
After a slow first minute of play, senior Preston Naylor put the home team on the board with a pair of free throws. But Seneca would answer with a three-pointer to take the lead, only to give one up on the other end at the hand of junior Austin Erickson.
The teams traded buckets for the next few minutes before Aurora began to pull away, eventually leading 24-15 at the end of the first quarter after a Naylor three at the buzzer.
The Houn’ Dawgs began the second period with a trey as well, this time from junior Clayton Dunning to make it a 27-18 contest. While they would only score one other field goal in the half, the lead over the Indians was maintained, and Aurora held a 34-28 advantage at halftime.
Junior Matt Miller got things started for the Houn’ Dawgs in the second half, converting an old-fashioned three-point play to extend the lead to nine points. By the 4:30 mark in the quarter, the Indians had yet to score and opted for a timeout with Aurora leading 43-28. The break appeared to spark the Seneca offense, but the home team continued to roll as well, leading 52-38 after three quarters.
A pair of threes by Erickson kept the momentum with Aurora to being the final period, and the Houn’ Dawgs continued to add to their lead throughout the fourth quarter.
With a comfortable 74-57 lead with just over two minutes remaining, Coach Daniel Cutbirth gave the homecoming crowd what it wanted, calling a timeout to substitute senior Justis Mooneyham into the game. Less than 30 seconds later, Mooneyham would drain a three-pointer to put a cherry on top of a satisfying game for the home fans. When the final buzzer sounded, the Aurora fans rushed the court to celebrate the 81-62 victory.
On the stat sheet, Miller was the clear leader on offense, accounting for 30 of Aurora’s points. Naylor and Erickson also scored in double-digits, racking up 16 and 13 points, respectively. Also on the board for Aurora were senior Devon Hilton with eight, Mooneyham with five, senior Zac Shoemaker with four, Dunning with three and sophomore Kaden Clark with two.
The Houn' Dawgs followed up Friday's win with another over Cassville on Tuesday to move to 3-1 in conference play. Aurora will be back in action at home next Tuesday for a non-conference matchup with Ash Grove.