By CHARLES BRADY
Reeling off 15 unanswered points to close the game, the visiting Cubs roared from behind to stun the Aurora Houn' Dawgs 61-54 in a thrilling Big 8 Conference basketball encounter on Friday.
The Cubs went to 4-9 on the year and 1-0 in the league.
"I couldn't be more proud of these guys," said MHS Coach Ty Goetz. "To be down by 16 points early in the third quarter and by 8 points with under 2:30 to go in the game, they could have just cashed it in. Our comeback shows how resilient these guys are. This was a big win for us to start out the conference season."
Marshall Basham got Aurora off to a quick start with a trey. After Monett's Josh Shaner scored a lay-up, Aaron Cox hit a trey and the Cubs trailed 6-2.
Aurora built a 13-6 lead before a three-point goal by Kennon Cox of the Cubs enabled Monett to get within four points. The Houn' Dawgs went on a scoring spurt late in the quarter and into the second stanza to outscore Monett 13-2 for a 26-11 lead until Shaner hit a bucket for the Cubs with 5:09 left in the half.
Monett was able to climb to within 11 points on a trey by Jacob Fair with 1:15 to go until intermission, but Aurora got the last three points of the half to make the score 36-22.
A basket by Aurora's Aaron Cox to open the third quarter gave the home team its biggest lead of the game at 38-22. The Cubs then began to slowly come back beginning with a three-point play by Kyle Woods with 4:38 remaining in the third period.
After David Eckman scored a lay-up for Aurora, the Cubs responded with seven consecutive points capped by a trey by Kennon Cox. Monett continued to rally, and Shaner's lay-up at the buzzer found the Cubs trailing by just six points at 44-38.
A trey by Woods with 3:44 left in the game enabled the Cubs to get within four points at 50-46 but Aurora regrouped. The Houn' Dawgs grabbed an eight-point lead at 54-48 on a basket by 6'5" Waylon Doty with two minutes left to play. It would be the last points Aurora would score.
Doty fouled out of the game, and the Cubs took charge of the boards to make the final run.
A pair of free throws by Woods with 1:54 left to play began the streak. Monett finally took the lead for good with 57 seconds left in the game at 56-54 on a three-point play by Shaner.
The Cubs then salted the game away at the free throw line with Tyler Green hitting two charity tosses, Shaner getting one and Spenser Witt with a pair to end the 15-point burst with three seconds remaining.
Woods led Monett in scoring with 18 points. Also contributing to the Cub offensive effort were Cox with 14 points, Shaner with 13 points, Green and Witt with 4 points each, Devin Steward and Fair with 3 points each and Trenton Pierce with 2 points.
Witt led the team in assists with eight.
Monett lost the junior varsity contest to Aurora 35-29.
Scoring for the Cub jayvee were Christian Wooldridge with 10 points, Fair and Tyler Webb with 5 points each, Jarred Witt and Aaron Hall with 4 points each and Caleb Blue with 1 point.