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Fronbarger’s winning shot was the 14th and final lead change in a game which also saw nine ties, and no lead bigger than seven points.
“It’s nice to be on the winning end of one because we’ve been on the other end several times,” said Aurora head coach Daniel Cutbirth. “It feels good.”
The Wildcats did just about everything they needed to in order to win. They dominated the glass, outrebounding Aurora 33-19. The top two scorers in the game were the Wildcats Garrett Kirk and Ethan Lowery who each scored 18 points. And they had a solid performance from the charity stripe hitting 20 of 28 for 71 percent. But the free throw line would prove to be their ultimate undoing.
With time running down in the game, sophomore forward Gabe Kirk hit a pair of free throws to give the Wildcats a 52-51 lead. After an Aurora turnover, Lowery was fouled and would hit both ends of the one and one to push the lead to three. Aurora failed to score, but Gabe Kirk would miss the front end of a bonus.
Aurora would grab the rebound and Corey Gregory would convert from down low to pull within one. Lowery would again be fouled, but this time he missed, allowing Aurora to rebound and call timeout with 4.2 seconds left.
Cassville set up with full-court pressure but Aurora broke through. Fronbarger drove in from the left side of the wing, and nailed the game winner as the horn sounded to electrify the home crowd. Cutbirth lauded his team’s execution.
“Our kids fought well, we made plays when we needed to, and got some stops when we needed too. They’re competitors. Last year we wouldn’t have done that. We would have lain down,” said Cutbirth.
Aurora placed four players in double figures with forward Garrett Bader notching 16 to lead the way, Gregory and Jordan Fronbarger each finished with 12, while Josh Fronbarger had 11.
Lowery grabbed 10 rebounds in addition to his 18 points. He and Kirk were the only Wildcats in double figures.
Both teams continue Big 8 play Friday. Aurora travels to Carl Junction while Cassville will host East Newton.
Aurora 12 18 15 10 - 55
Cassville: Brady Blisard 3, Connor Redmon 4, Ty Craig 5, Garrett Kirk 18, Ethan Lowery 18, Gabe Kirk 6
Aurora: Andrew Parker 2, Corey Gregory 12, Josh Fronbarger 11, Logan Bader 2, Jordan Fronbarger 12, Garrett Bader 16