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Execution on defense and maintaining value with the basketball became an issue for the Twinsburg's boys team in a crosstown battle at Aurora.
Despite loads of turnovers and missed free throws in the fourth quarter, Aurora beat Twinsburg 77-67 Dec. 27 in a non-league clash in front of a large Greenmen crowd.
The tough loss saw the Tigers slip to 1-6 overall.
"We just missed too many open shots and turned the ball over way too much," said Twinsburg mentor Phil Schmook.
With leads surging near the 20-point mark, Aurora was executing with movement on offense and playing sound defense -- items that Twinsburg struggled with.
Suddenly, youthful Twinsburg was creating chaos with defensive pressure.
The Tigers helped force 23 Aurora turnovers.
Twinsburg cut the lead to nine at 60-51 with 4:13 left on a junior wing Darrell Newsom hoop on a feed from junior guard Michael Moore.
However, Aurora (3-4) started hitting free throws to cover for a suddenly sluggish offense and Twinsburg would never really get much closer.
In the bonus at the free throw line with 7:21 left, Aurora made a ton of trips to the charity stripe, but managed to go just 15-of-26 at the line in the fourth period.
In all, Aurora was 30-of-42 at the line compared to Twinsburg's 7-of-17 effort.
"Our guys just had too many mistakes and many of the turnovers were unforced," noted Schmook, whose club had 14 turnovers unofficially.
"I was extremely proud of the effort because we came back and the kids played until the end," Schmook added.
Aurora head coach Steve Fleming echoed some similar thoughts on his club.
"Many of the turnovers were unforced," said Fleming. "We knew Phil Schmook would up the defensive pressure, but we made poor decisions, and the turnovers led to uncontested layups."
James Robinson had a huge game for the Greenmen as the 6-foot-5 forward netted game highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds. He also had a career outing at the free throw stripe as he was 12-of-12.
"In the half court, they [Aurora] are a lot bigger than we are," noted Schmook. "We didn't move the ball, and on defense, we did not have good rotations."
Moore quietly had a strong game as he ended with 19 points, five boards, three assists, three steals, and two 3-pointers.
Just like Newsom, Moore scored 12 points in the second half.
The 6 foot Newsome, in his first year of varsity basketball at Twinsburg, was active as he pumped in 16 points off the bench. He added four boards and three steals.
"I have been very encouraged with the play of Darrell (Newsom)," said Schmook.
Junior guard Leroy Fitzgerald also played well as he had 11 points, four caroms, and played strong defense on standout Aurora wing Gavin Blunt.
Guard Chris Fox sparked the Tigers off the bench with six points and three thefts.
Senior guard Jalen Tucker added four points and five rebounds. Senior Vince Paolucci had a solid floor game with three points, three boards, and two feeds. Senior Mike Cusma had four points while freshmen Daydon Adams and Kenny McElrath each had two.
Zack Elsawy netted 19 points for Aurora while Blunt added 14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocked shots, and 2 thefts.
Twinsburg was set to open 2017 by hosting Wadsworth Jan. 3 but results were not available at press time.
The Tigers will travel to Hudson Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m.