Huskies represent Aurora well both on and off the court
Husky Nation had something to celebrate last weekend in Lincoln.
Though the Class B boys state basketball tournament ended one game sooner than Aurora players, coaches and fans would have wanted, there was something special about what this group did on and off the court that leaves a lasting impression.
This team was not only fun for its fans to watch, it made others with no allegiance to Aurora High School sit up and take notice. That takes some doing in this day and age.
Outside the locker room moments after those pesky Bearcats ended the Huskies’ run in the semifinals for the second straight year, a Scottsbluff representative told Tom Leininger something not all coaches get to hear.
“Your players were such outstanding good sports,” he said. “The way they played the game, helped opposing players up off the court and admitted when they fouled someone, was just incredible. Some teams are good sports, but this was different. It was noticeable, and that says a lot about your team.”
And their parents, coaches and hometown, I would add.
Those words didn’t necessarily sooth the hurt of falling one day short of a state championship game, but they do matter. How you play the game, and how you conduct yourselves in victory and defeat, does matter.
On that score, the Huskies were spot on. Taking the time after each game, home and away, to help pick up trash in the bleachers offered further proof that this team was a genuine class act. That stat won’t show up in any highlight reel, but it does matter.
And oh by the way this team could play the game incredibly well. Loaded with talent, height, shooters, a really big man in the middle and role players who provided depth off the bench, the Huskies were balanced, explosive and fun to watch.
They don’t track slam dunks in the statistic department, I’m told, but if they did this team set a new standard, and ignited the gym time and time again. Some of those sizzling assist passes were equally impressive, reflecting the unselfish nature of a team that didn’t care who scored.
Not only did this Husky squad go 50-4 over the past two seasons, giving the community something fun and exciting to talk about, look forward to and share, the players set a high standard for sportsmanship. There was just a genuine feeling that these are nice young men, playing a game they love with their friends, and playing it really, really well.
The size of crowds filling the sports complex this season was amazing, and indeed this team created a buzz, a sense that everyone in this gym knew they were watching something special.
From my perspective, the energy and confidence on the court was contagious. Throughout the season, I had friends and colleagues from throughout the state say, in effect, “How about those Huskies.” That’s pretty darn cool.
Congrats to the coaches and players on a memorable, most successful season. Husky Nation says thank you.