The Aurora Lady Houns fell in a pair of non-conference games to start the season, including a nail-biting 62-61 loss against former Aurora coach Trish Marsh's Glendale squad.
In their first official contest under new coach D.J. Gutscher, the Lady Houns took an early lead in the first quarter of Friday's game on four straight free throws by senior Cheyanne Eutsler. A steal and bucket by junior Ashley Vaught made it 6-1 before Glendale came back to take a 7-6 lead a minute later.
But Aurora's run-and-gun offense took over the rest of the quarter, and the Lady Houns led 22-14 after one period. A three-pointer by senior Kaylee Huffman then set the tone for the second quarter, after which Aurora took a 41-34 lead into the locker room at halftime.
But Coach Marsh's Lady Falcons roared back and kept the Lady Houns' offense at bay, eventually evening the score at 50-50 with 50 seconds to go in the third quarter. A pair of free throws gave Glendale the lead with less than 15 seconds remaining, but a Huffman three at the buzzer put the home team back on top with one quarter to play.
That final quarter was closely contested, with the teams trading points and the lead, and neither side was able to mount a lead of more than four points at a time.
Down by four, Glendale called a timeout with 2:30 remaining and made it a one-point game on the ensuing play via the three-pointer. The visitors then took the lead with 1:50 on the clock and worked to stall after that.
The Lady Houns fouled to put a Glendale shooter on the line for a one-and-one, which was missed and rebounded by Aurora. But after a timeout with nine seconds to go, the potential game-winning shot fell short, giving Glendale the 62-61 win and Aurora a loss to open the season.
Four Lady Houns finished with double-figures in the points category, including Eutsler and Huffman with 18 and 17, respectively. Senior Emily Moore added 13, and Vaught finished with 11. Each Aurora starter made it on the score sheet, as sophomore Kortney Juracek rounded out the lineup with two points.
Monday's matchup against Springfield Catholic also ended in a loss for Gutscher's team, this time a blowout on the side of the visitors, 65-35. The Aurora team proved no match for the Lady Irish's outside shooting threat, as Catholic finished with 12 three-pointers on the night.
Eutsler finished as the leading scorer for the Lady Houns with 11 points, while freshman Elizabeth Martin added seven off the bench. Moore added six, while Vaught contributed five. Huffman and freshman Lillie Bodeen scored four and two points, respectively.
After the Thanksgiving break, the Lady Houns will continue competition next week in the Ash Grove Classic.