A disappointing first half made a Big 8 Conference win seem out of reach for the Aurora Houn' Dawgs on Tuesday night, but a stunning turnaround in the second act led the home team to victory over East Newton and gave Aurora a record of 7-12 overall on the season.
The game's first couple of minutes were as close as could be, with the Houn' Dawgs matching the Patriots shot for shot through the first several possessions. But soon the home team found itself on the wrong end of the turnover battle, falling behind quickly as the East Newton offense continued to score easy buckets.
The Dawgs only managed to score two points in the last six and a half minutes of the first quarter, trailing 22-10 by the end of the period.
It would be more of the same in the second, as shots just would not fall for the Aurora offense. Fortunately for the home team, East Newton's production would be about the same, preventing the visitors from taking an even bigger lead into halftime.
Trailing 33-22 at the intermission, Coach Dylan Curtis must have fired up his team in the locker room, for the Houn' Dawgs came out with renewed energy in the second half.
An early basket by senior Austin Erickson got things going, and by the final seconds of the third quarter, his shot from behind the three-point line gave Aurora its first lead since the opening quarter, 40-39.
The Houn' Dawgs would not give up that lead for the remainder of the game.
A three-pointer by junior Austin Hartwigsen on the first possession of the fourth quarter gave the home team enough momentum and confidence to finish out the game. Thanks in no small part to a handful of East Newton turnovers -- and an 11-point quarter by junior Casey Weathermon -- the Dawgs rolled to a comfortable 63-54 victory and their second conference win.
Weathermon and senior Matthew Miller each broke the 20-point mark on the night, scoring 20 and 24 points, respectively. Erickson added 11 for Aurora, while Hartwigsen finished with eight.
The Houn' Dawgs will continue conference play on the road at Cassville on Tuesday before returning for homecoming on Friday against Reeds Spring.