The Aurora Houn' Dawgs dropped their first Big 8 Conference game of the season last Friday, coming up just short in overtime against the Monett Cubs. Tied at 44 after four quarters of regulation play, the Dawgs suffered a 55-51 loss to drop to 4-7 overall on the season.
It was a slow start for Aurora, who fell behind 9-0 before finally scoring at the 1:31 mark in the first quarter. The Houn' Dawgs managed to make it a close game by the end of the period, trailing 11-7 midway through the half.
Monett surrendered the lead for the first time with just under six minutes to go in the half, as senior Clayton Dunning knocked down a shot to put the home team ahead. The Cubs reclaimed the lead on the next possession, and the game went back and forth for the next few minutes. But by the halftime buzzer, the Houn' Dawgs held a four-point lead at 26-22.
Aurora maintained the advantage for almost the entirety of the third quarter, but the Cubs managed to tie the game at 36 on a last second steal and layup to end the period.
The final quarter of regulation was more of the same, the teams battling to take a lead of more than a few points at a time. But with less than a minute remaining, the Cubs tied the game at 44, leading Aurora coach Dylan Curtis to call a timeout to set up what he hoped would be a final play.
The Houn' Dawgs ran the clock down under 10 seconds, at which point senior Matthew Miller attempted a game-winning shot that didn't fall. A last-second desperation heave by Monett was also off, sending the game to a four-minute overtime period.
A steal by Dunning got the Houn' Dawgs off to a good start, giving Aurora the lead after he hit a pair of free throws. But the Cubs managed to swing the game in their favor, leading 50-47 with less than a minute to go.
A couple of long-range attempts by senior Austin Erickson were off for the Dawgs, and Monett managed to build a six-point lead at the free throw line. Miller knocked down a three to make it 54-51 and keep the home team alive with 12 seconds left, but that would be as close as the Houn' Dawgs would get. A final free throw on the Monett end put the game out of reach, giving Aurora a loss in its first conference matchup of the year.
Miller finished with 22 points for Aurora, followed by a 17-point performance by Dunning. Junior Casey Weathermon added five points, while junior Kaden Clark scored four and Erickson added a three.
The Houn' Dawgs are scheduled to travel to Marshfield on Friday before competing in the Scoreboard Guy Shootout in Ozark on Saturday.