AURORA, Neb. — Aurora gave coach Tom Leininger his 400th career win. Hastings took a second close loss in less than a week.

Tuesday night’s 57-52 win for the Huskies came down to the final 2½ minutes. With the game tied, Hastings misfired around the basket and Aurora’s Cade Reichardt made a 3.

“They listened to me 100 percent, because I said we’re going inside every time. So they set up a backside screen and he buried it,’’ Leininger said. “In their defense they set up very well and he was wide open.”

Class B No. 3 Aurora (10-1) went up five on two Jordan Stevenson free throws with 1:00 left and matched scores with the No. 8 Tigers the rest of the way.

Leininger said he tried to keep the milestone under wraps. His previous stops were Columbus Scotus, Oxford, Southern Valley and Ogallala.

“Until our radio guy last week mentioned it, I thought I was going to get away with it,” Leininger said.

Hastings (7-3) lost for the third time in as many tries against a team currently above .500 since starting the year with a win over Seward — which hasn’t lost since.

Coach Lance Creech said getting another quality win is needed for a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2003-04. The Tigers were close last year, finishing 11-12.

“I’m not going to fault our effort. I’m not going to fault our performance here,’’ he said. “We did some good things against a good team. What was a little disheartening was I thought we played with a little apprehension in the back of our minds — we’re just Hastings and we’re at Aurora instead of saying we’re Hastings and we’re coming to Aurora to win.

“For whatever reason, and I haven’t been able to put my finger on it yet, we’re just a little bit unsure because we haven’t been there yet.”

His team wiped out a 33-21 halftime deficit by making 5 of 7 treys in the third quarter for its first lead, 43-41, on sophomore reserve Jarrett Synek’s 3-point play at quarter’s end. Connor Creech, the coach’s 6-3 junior son, led all scorers with 21 points and had two 3s, and Mike Boeve made three in a 17-point game.

But the Tigers went cold in the final period — 2 of 12. Hastings ended with 48 shots, half of them 3s. The Tigers made nine 3s and eight 2s. Coach Creech sensed that some of the shots were being rushed, in part from South Dakota State recruit Baylor Scheierman blocking three shots in the first half and five for the game.

Scheierman led balanced scoring for Aurora with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals besides the blocks. Reichardt and Stevenson had 12 apiece.

“When a team is as good as Hastings and they shoot that well, and you beat them, that means you stepped up your game,” Leininger said, “And we needed to. In probably three of our last four games we didn’t play very well, and we stepped it up tonight.”

Hastings (7-3)...............12 9 22 9—52

At Aurora (10-1)..........20 13 8 16—57

H: Connor Creech 21, Mike Boeve 17, Jacob Schroeder 4, Jarrett Synek 3, Quentin Synek 3, JT Cafferty 2, Alex Swoboda 2.

A: Baylor Scheierman 13, Cade Reichardt 12, Jordan Stevenson 12, Nick Hutsell 8, Nathan Boerkircher 6, Rylan Wills 6.

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Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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