Urbana made sure that winless Kenton Ridge stayed that way Friday night, topping the visiting Cougars, 62-29, in a CBC/KTD boys basketball game.
In a contest that could have seen Urbana on autopilot, the Hillclimbers instead came out intense from the opening tip. They hustled to loose balls and rebounds and moved quickly to shift on the defensive end.
It was a performance that guaranteed there would not be a letdown.
“I thought we played well in the first half. We missed a lot of shots we normally make, which is why we didn’t put as many points up. But we weren’t upset at halftime. We knew we just had to keep getting those shots,” UHS Coach Jeremy Dixon said.
Wearing orange wristbands in solidarity with the grieving West Liberty community, Urbana pounded the Cougars inside, punishing the visitors with its size and athleticism.
Urbana built a narrow 24-19 lead at halftime, but never really seemed threatened.
“I don’t think we played poorly in the first half, we just didn’t finish anything,” Dixon said. “It’s always dangerous. I respect Kenton Ridge. They’re going to get one here. We just wanted to make sure it wasn’t tonight.”
The third quarter saw a little more offensive efficiency for Urbana, with Dakota Hower and Kalen Howell going to work and Jace Underwood pouring in a couple of baskets.
The outburst was enough to put Urbana comfortably ahead for good, as it won the quarter, 23-7, and pulled ahead, 47-26, for the game.
“Dakota had 11 points there in the third quarter. He struggled in the first half, but did a lot better job of just being confident,” Dixon said. “That got us going a little bit and we had balance – I think we had four guys in double figures tonight.”
Indeed, the ‘Climbers did see four players score 10 or more points. Underwood and Hower finished with 14 each, while Howell scored 13. Levi Boettcher finished with 11 points – all but two coming before the break.
“It’s about consistency. We were good tonight. And we’ve been good a lot of nights this year. But then we’ll have those nights where we’re just not as aggressive. That’s what we’ve been working on,” Dixon said.
Urbana won the jayvee game, 54-29. Dakota Hower had 19 points in that game, with Reid Taylor scoring 11 and Brandon Vogel 10.
The Hillclimbers also won the freshman game, 50-43. Ethan Headlee scored 18 points and Austin Rooney had 16.
Urbana (9-6, 6-2) will play at Greenon on Tuesday.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.