The Cherokee Washington High School gym was packed with Aurelia fans, many of them clad in blue and green, on March 5th, as the Aurelia Bulldogs sought to sustain their tournament magic against the seventh-ranked Wall Lake View-Auburn Wolverines.
The District Tournament semi-final game, delayed twice by last week's blizzard, started off as an even contest, with the teams tied at 16 after one quarter. The Wolverines, though, started to pull away in the second quarter, and led 37-27 at halftime on the way to a 72-56 victory.
Bulldog coach Grant Peckenschneider said, "We just didn't play very well in the second quarter. They got up by 10 going into the half, and we just couldn't get over the hump in the second half. We did not move the ball real well offensively after the first quarter, and turnovers also hurt us. Give the boys credit - we kept fighting, but
they made their free throws to seal the game."
Jacob Bruce led Bulldog scoring with 15, with Gabe Fuller adding 14, Aaron Bruce 13, and Tanner Winterhof nine. Fuller led the Dogs on the boards with 10 rebounds, and Dustin Wieland had six. Jared Bruce had four assists and Jacob Bruce had four steals.
Chris Woerdehoff led WLVA with 25 points and nine rebounds, and he was ably assisted by Nick Buse, who scored 17 points, Steven Aschinger, who had 16, and Matt Drost, who scored 12.
Peckenschneider wanted to especially thank the seven seniors on his squad, saying
"This is my fourth year, and they have been a big part of Aurelia's program, and the success we have had the last four years."
That senior group includes Winterhof, Jacob Bruce, Fuller, Wieland, Ross Fitzgerald, Kyle Doherty, and Ryan Parker.
The coach also expressed his thanks to the Aurelia fans for their support all year, and especially appreciated the crowds who came for the tournament games.
"We finished 10-13," said the coach, "but we were 2-1 in the post season. I don't know how many teams who are 8-12 entering the postseason would have given as much effort as we did in our three tournament games, against the competition we had to play . We could have just packed it in and called it a year, but we didn't - and we finished the season the way any coach would want to."