Despite outscoring their opponents in the second half of last Thursday's district semifinal game, the Aurora Houn' Dawgs saw their season come to an end against top-seeded Webb City in a 58-44 loss at Cassville.
After a bucket and free throw by Matthew Miller (senior) early in the first quarter, the Houn' Dawgs eventually surrendered the lead to the Cardinals and were never able to get it back. The Webb City press led to several turnovers in the first period, effectively keeping the fifth-seeded Dawgs off the board.
The offensive output suffered even more for Aurora in the second quarter, as the Dawgs would only score twice after another Miller free throw. With only nine points in the first and six in the second period, the underdog Aurora team faced a 30-15 deficit at halftime.
Facing the end of their season -- and in the case of the seniors, the end of their high school basketball careers -- the Dawgs put up a fight in the second half to outscore the Cardinals 29-28. But Aurora could never get to within less than six points of the lead built up by Webb City in the first half, and the season came to an end for head coach Dylan Curtis's team.
Miller finished with 21 points on the night before fouling out (to a standing ovation) with less than a minute remaining in the game. Also on the board for Aurora were junior Casey Weathermon with eight points and senior Austin Erickson with six. Senior Clayton Dunning finished with five, while juniors Kaden Clark and Logan Lauffer added three and one, respectively.
Miller would this week be named as the lone Aurora selection for the All-District team.
The Dawgs finished with an overall record of 11-15 in their first season under Curtis, including a 4-3 record in Big 8 Conference play. While the loss of Miller, Erickson and Dunning will be felt next season, the varsity experience gained by the juniors and others on the team will give fans reason to be hopeful for another strong district run next year.