After winning 15 games combined the next two seasons, the Dawgs fell last year to a 2-24 record. Two things worked against Aurora last season to contribute to their finish.
The squad only had four returning lettermen and one returning starter, and they had to adjust to a new head coach in Daniel Cutbirth.
But what a difference a year can make. Cutbirth welcomes back three starters and seven lettermen for his second season as the head Dawg.
“I am very excited about the upcoming season,” he said. “We will return all of our scoring and rebounding from last season. The boys are much improved on both sides of the ball since last year. We had a great summer and competed well and improved greatly as the summer progressed.”
Four seniors head up the returnees that Cutbirth is excited about. Point guard Andrew Parker (5’11”) is a three-year starter for Aurora and led the team in scoring last year at13.5 points per game. The team’s best defender, not only will Parker be the primary ball handler, he’ll guard the other team’s best player many nights.
Senior shooting guard Clayton Summers (6’5”) is a versatile player who can man any spot on the floor for the Dawgs. He averaged 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists per game last year and should improve those numbers.
Shooting guard Jordan Fronabarger (5’10”) was also a spot starter last season. Fronabarger is another strong defender and a good rebounder for a guard.
The last senior is guard McLain Rapp (5’10”), a spot starter who is a great defender and role player for Cutbirth.
Three juniors make up the remaining returning lettermen. Forward Garrett Bader (6’4”) started last season as a sophomore, averaging 10.4 points and 8 rebounds a game.
He gives Aurora a strong post presence. Forward Corey Gregory (6’3”) also started last year and led the team in 3-point percentage while scoring 8 points a game.
And forward Bryant Vaught (6’2”) is the last returning letterman. His versatility makes him a valuable part of the team.
Hoping to score some varsity time are a junior and four sophomores. Junior guard Chase Mayes (5’10”) will compete for minutes with sophomores Tyler Crews (6’2”, F), Dylan Cullars (6’2”, G), Nathan Mueller (5’11”, G) and Patrick Wheeler (5’9”, G) who led the freshman team in scoring and rebounding last year.
The Houn’ Dawgs will again have to deal with the Big 8 schedule with their chief rival, Mt. Vernon, sure to be among the contenders for a Class 3 title. The Dawgs may not be all the way back, but they should start moving in the right direction this season.