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There’s no denying that Mooseheart’s boys basketball team rose to the occasion of playing the No. 1-ranked Class 1A team in Illinois on Friday night, when Aurora Christian visited the Mooseheart Field House.
While the Ramblers struggled to find an offensive flow in the first quarter, trailed the entire game and lost the contest 63-50, the hosts were never outclassed and made a run at the Eagles in the second half before the visitors pulled away to seal the victory.
“We got ready for this game all week knowing they were No. 1 in the state and that they have a chance to go all the way downstate and win,” Mooseheart boys basketball coach Pete Daneels said. “I said that this would be a good test for us.”
Mooseheart’s shooting struggles were most glaring in the opening half. Aurora Christian opened a 17-7 lead after the first quarter. While the Ramblers rallied in the second half behind 10 points by Na’Shawn Howze, the Eagles led 34-20 at halftime.
“I didn’t think we had confidence offensively in the first half,” Daneels said. “I challenged the guys a little bit to take it to the hoop, to not be afraid and to shoot with confidence.”
The Ramblers got to within 8 points in the third quarter before Aurora Christian stemmed the rally. Mooseheart surged again in the fourth quarter. This time Mike Lowe had the hot hand, scoring 10 of his team-high 21 points. But with a double-digit lead for the entire quarter, the Eagles were able to close the victory.
“We threw some passes away and had some mental errors, and when you’re playing the No. 1 team in the state, you can’t do that,” Daneels said. “We did that a couple of times in a row in a sequence over 3 minutes, and that allowed them to pull away.”
Seniors Jake and Will Wolfe paced Aurora Christian. Jake Wolfe led all scorers with 26 points while Will Wolfe added 17 points. Taj Davis chipped in 8 points for the victors.