DAYTON – Urbana was able to hang with Aiken in the first half of Sunday’s Division II district final boys basketball game, but the Falcons pulled away in the second half and finished with a 67-55 victory.
Jordan Underwood shouldered the load for the Hillclimbers in the first half, getting to the free throw line with abandon and racking up 21 points, going 10-of-12 at the stripe.
Urbana had the lead late in the second quarter and again just after the half. Aiken held a 33-32 margin at the intermission.
The Falcons were just too much in the third quarter, going on a 19-6 run to open the period and build an insurmountable lead.
“The guys fought today,” UHS Coach Jeremy Dixon said. “Basically, for 27 of the 32 minutes, we did exactly what we wanted to do. We had a rough stretch in the third quarter where we let down a little bit but I’m very proud of the way they fought today.”
Underwood was no longer able to get to the line, making just one trip to the stripe in the second half and finishing with four points after the break. He logged a team-high 25 points in 32 minutes. Cameron Logwood added 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Levi Boettcher had 7 points and 13 rebounds.
Aiken got what it wanted from its trio of guards, with Carlik Jones scoring 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting and 5-of-7 from the line. Marcus Barton added 18 points with four three-pointers and Lonnie Berry scored 13 points.
“They’ve got some good ball handlers,” Dixon said. “They hit those threes and they’re a hard team to beat. They’re 23-3 or whatever for a reason. They’ve got some very good guards and they’re hard to come back against.”
Aiken’s third quarter run saw the Falcons shoot 64 percent from the field and explode to a 24-10 edge in the frame, giving the boys from Cincinnati a 57-42 edge going to the fourth.
Urbana (18-8) closed the gap a little in the final quarter, but Jones made his free throws down the stretch and any ideas of a comeback were snuffed out.
With less than a minute to play, Dixon subbed out his seniors to a standing ovation. Sam Niswonger, Jordan Underwood, Cameron Logwood and Najhea Honore will all graduate, leaving a lot of spots to fill.
“They’re one of the most fun groups I’ve had in 18 years of coaching, and those seniors have a lot to do with it,” Dixon said. “Over the last three years, they’ve won 58 games and lost 16. And three league championships and a sectional championship, so we’re going to miss those guys dearly.”