In their previous games on December 7, the Alta girls took a 59-42 win over the Bulldogs, and the number-one ranked Cyclone boys beat the Aurelia boys in a 78-27 rout.
Though the end results Tuesday were the same as in the earlier games - with Alta again winning both contests - the Cyclones had to work hard to edge the Bulldog girls by nine points, and the Alta boys had to overcome a nine-point Bulldog lead in the second quarter to pull off a 16-point victory, 69-53.
While "moral victories" don't count on the season record, they can boost a team's confidence and morale, and this seemed to happen to the Bulldog teams Tuesday night, as they played well and kept their composure for the most part, preventing the games from becoming blow-outs.
In the girls opener, Aurelia trailed the talented young (only one senior and two juniors) Cyclone squad by nine points at the half and, though they cut the margin to three at the six-minute mark in the third quarter, the Cyclones still led by nine after three quarters and again at the final buzzer, winning 51-42.
Alta coach Jeannie (Demers) Hemmingsen's freshman daughter, Jordan, who led the team in scoring with 22 in the first Alta-Aurelia match-up, again paced her team Tuesday night with 23 points - the only Cyclone to score in double figures. Hemmingsen also dished out six assists.
In the boys game, Aurelia Coach Grant Peckenschneider said his squad "played a great game. We gave the number one team a run for awhile. The kids played extremely hard and left it all on the court."
Aurelia held a 23-14 lead at one point in the second quarter, but the Cyclones went on an 18-2 run to end the half and continued after the half, running up a 57-44 lead going into the final quarter. The Bulldogs outscored the Cyclones 13-12 in the last quarter to account for a final score of Alta 69-53. As Coach Peck said, "Considering we got beat by 51 last time we played them, to lose by 16 is a big improvement."
Peckenschneider said Aurelia "had a lot of guys play well. Jared (Bruce) hit some big threes to keep us in it late. Mason Sangwin gave us quality time. Anthony Fowler played well in his first start, Aaron Bruce had a solid game, and Camrin Meyer continues to improve."
Aaron Bruce scored 14 to lead the 'Dogs, while Meyer had 13 and Jared Bruce 12 to lead a well-balanced attack. Jared Bruce also had seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals, despite missing a good part of the game with foul trouble. Sangwin, a senior, had five rebounds and Fowler had four assists. Aaron Bruce blocked two Alta shots.
Mike Huseman led Alta's scoring with 23 points, including 3-7 on three-pointers; Speedy guard Chris Schmitz scored 10 points for the 'Clones and Aaron Hansen scored nine points and grabbed five rebounds for the winners.
Aurelia shot 52.5% from the field, on 21-40 shooting, but Coach Peck said his team will have to improve their free throw shooting (they were 8-19) as well as decrease their turnovers (they had 20) in upcoming games.
He also said to "give credit to Coach Smith and his boys. They are a solid team and they can go so deep on their bench. They wore us down a bit by the fourth quarter."