The Camdenton Lakers boys basketball team lost to the Aurora Houn Dawgs in their first game of the season Tuesday, Nov. 30, by the score of 74-61. 

The game started out well enough for the Lakers, as they got off to good start and held an 8-6 lead over Aurora halfway through the first quarter. Thanks to their excellent ball movement, they were able to find good scoring opportunities against the Houn Dawgs. However, it became apparent that while the Lakers were playing at a slower pace on offense, preferring to get set up in the offensive zone and work the ball around to find an open man, the Houn Dawgs were using their speed to quicken the pace of the game and started getting lots of points on the fast break. By the end of the first quarter, Aurora had done this to great effect and tied the game at 16 points apiece. 

Camdenton had a difficult time finding an answer to Aurora’s speedy play style. Virtually every time the Houn Dawgs came up with the ball on defense, they already had two players breaking up-court to pass the ball to. In most of these situations, the Lakers were only able to get one and sometimes no players back on defense, allowing Aurora to score a number of points in two-on-one breaks. The Houn Dawgs took and steadily increased their lead in the second and held a 25-19 advantage by the midway point of the quarter. They also managed to limit the Lakers’ inside scoring chances which forced the Lakers to start attempting outside shots, including plenty of three-point attempts. Eventually Camdenton managed to adjust defensively to prevent Aurora from getting easy points on the fast break and effectively shut down their inside scoring opportunities. But while the Lakers were missing most of their three-point shots, Aurora responded with lethal three-point shooting and by the end of the half had taken a 43-28 lead over Camdenton. 

Entering the second half, Camdenton began to work inside again and found some success against the Houn Dawgs, but were still unable to stop an offense that was now either scoring quickly after getting the defensive rebound or if Camdenton managed to stop the break, was confident in its ability to take and seemingly more often than not make a three-pointer. The Lakers continued to attempt their own three-point shots as the game slowly got away from them, but their struggles in that area persisted and the misses piled up. The Lakers did managed to start drawing fouls when trying to score inside, but missed more free throws than they certainly would have liked to. By the end of the third quarter, Aurora had increased their lead to 62-44. 

The fourth quarter represented a considerable turnaround for the Lakers. In the final quarter of the game, Camdenton came out firing on all cylinders. They played exceedingly well on offense and defense and flipped the narrative of the game by playing fast and scoring in a similar way to how Aurora had been all game long. The Lakers three-point shooting fortunes shifted and they started to pick up points from outside the arc and inside, while simultaneously forcing numerous Houn Dawg turnovers and errors that led to Camdenton cutting their 18-point deficit down to eight points with about a 1:30 left to play. Unfortunately for the Lakers, their 17-7 run to begin the fourth quarter could not overcome the substantial lead Aurora had built throughout the game and in the final 90 second of the game the Houn Dawgs retook the initiative to put the game away. Despite their excellent showing in the fourth quarter, Camdenton fell to Aurora by the final of 74-61.

The loss gives the Lakers an 0-1 record to begin the season. Though the Lakers lost, they had extended stretches of promising play that should they manage to put together for the majority of a game, will make them a formidable team as the year moves forward. Camdenton is currently competing in the Willard Basketball Classic, with their final game in that tournament scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. at Willard High School.

The Lake Sun