The Aurelia boys basketball post-season march ended at the hands of WLVA on Monday night as the Bulldogs fell 72-56 to the Wolverines in the final round of district play.
"We really played hard and we never gave up," said Aurelia head coach Grant Peckenschneider. "We had a good first quarter and got back into it at the end but we just couldn't quite pull it off."
The game see-sawed back and forth in the first quarter as Aurelia hung right with WLVA, trading shot for shot. The Bulldogs got on the board first on a pair of Jacob Bruce free throws but the Wolverines answered with a three-point basket.
Halfway through the first quarter, the Bulldogs were down 11-8 when they went on an 8-0 run. Tanner Winterhof dumped in two lay-ups on a couple of steals and Jacob Bruce hit Aurelia's lone three-pointer of the game to open up a five-point lead.
The Wolverines answered with five quick points and the first quarter buzzer sounded on a 16-16 tie as a half-court desperation shot by Aurelia just missed the mark.
WLVA held Aurelia scoreless for the first three minutes of the second quarter, scoring eight points from the paint and opening up a 24-16 advantage. Aaron Bruce scored the first Bulldog point on a free throw but the Wolverines kept the pressure on and took a 37-27 lead into the halftime break.
The Bulldogs had a spark of energy coming out of the locker room, getting a steal and pulling down a pair of offensive boards. By the end of the third quarter, Aurelia had pulled within six to head into the final eight minutes down 47-41.
The Bulldogs found themselves in foul trouble down the stretch and the Wolverines had extended their lead to 61-47 at the two minute mark. Aurelia dug in and fought for the last 90 seconds, picking up two steals but WLVA proved too tough for the Bulldogs to handle.
Jacob Bruce led the Aurelia offense with 15 points and Gabe Fuller put up 14 points. Aaron Bruce also reached double figures with 13 points. The Bulldogs converted on 13-18 (72.0 percent) from the charity stripe and hit 20 shots from the field.
Chris Woerdehoff led a quartet of Wolverines in double figures with 25 points, including three three-pointers. Chris Nelsen put up 17 points and Steven Aschinger added 16. Matt Drost chipped in 12 points and hit three-pointers.
The Wolverines hit 19 shots from the field and five from beyond the arc.
The team was a cool 19-27 (70.0 percent) from the line. WLVA advances to the district final to be played at Spencer tonight. Aurelia ends with a 10-13 season record.
"We were disappointed in our regular season, but we won two big games in the post-season," said Peckenschneider.
"I can't say enough about how hard these guys have worked and how much this senior group has really turned this program around."