MOVILLE - The Aurelia Bulldog boys' basketball team had high hopes as they came into this post-season, because 1) they finished their season strong; 2) they came on strong in the tournaments last season; and 3) their District didn't have any outstanding or dominant teams.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, when they got started on the tournament trail on Saturday at Moville, they "just did not get in the groove until it was too late," in the words of the 'Dogs mentor Grant Peckenschneider.
"We played solid defense all game," said Peckenschneider, "but we just couldn't score," leading to a narrow 46-45 setback to host Woodbury Central.
"We missed too many easy ones early," the coach continued, "and had some bad turnovers to start the game. We (also) probably forced a few shots, and were 9/19 from the free throw line." The host Wildcats, he said, "played well and made some shots."
The Bulldogs trailed 14-9 after the first quarter and were down 21-18 at halftime. Woodbury Central increased their lead to 34-24 after three quarters after sinking a 75-foot-long three-pointer at the buzzer. Peckenschneider said that shot was "deflating" to the Bulldogs, but, he said, "give my boys credit. They fought back and took the lead with 12 seconds to go."
Unfortunately for Aurelia, "they (WC) made a tough shot," and defeated the Bulldogs by one slim point, 46-45.
Bulldog senior point guard and team leader Jared Bruce led the team in scoring in his final game with 19 points, and his junior brother Aaron added 10 points. Fellow junior Camrin Meyer led the 'Dogs on the boards, grabbing 11 rebounds. Aaron Bruce had six boards, and Jared Bruce and Anthony Fowler each had five.
Peckenschneider said "It was a disappointing end to the season. We really believed we could make it to substate. Anyone who can get hot in that district could make it, and it just wasn't us Saturday."
Peckenschneider thanked his three graduating seniors - Mason Sangwin, Greg Kolpin, and Jared Bruce - "for the four years they put in here in Aurelia. We turned the program around, and made Aurelia a very competitive team night in and night out."
In conclusion, said Peckenschneider, "We have a lot of very good players returning, and if they work at it, they could be a very solid squad come next fall."