WEST LIBERTY – WL-S pulled away from the free throw line in the final minute and beat Urbana, 68-58, in non-league boys basketball on Tuesday. It was a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate.
Urbana jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter, prompting a timeout from WL-S and a response that saw the Tigers trim it to 13-9 when the quarter ended.
The game went back and forth after that, with WL-S leading 29-26 at halftime and Urbana possessing a 44-41 lead after three quarters.
“Near the middle of the third quarter, that was kind of ‘do or die’ time,” WL-S Coach Darrin Leichty said. “And I noticed our team at that point made a stand. Defensively, they started getting some stops. And every loose ball was ours at that point.”
The game was tied at 56-56 with two minutes remaining, but the Tigers continued to make play after play and convert from the free throw line.
“The difference was toughness. Loose balls and rebounds – they got all of them,” UHS Coach Jeremy Dixon said. “Every time I feel like things are starting to go well, something like this happens.”
For the game, WL-S made 18-of-27 from the line and Urbana was 17-of-21. But the Tigers made 8 three-pointers, while Urbana connected on just one attempt from downtown.
It was a playoff-like atmosphere, something Leichty said was by design.
“That’s exactly why we have it placed near the end of the season like this,” he said. “When we get to a sectional final or even before that, we’re going to see competition like that. They’re a bigger team than us, and I thought we handled their inside guys and their length pretty well tonight.”
Kannon Stillings went off with 26 points for the Tigers (13-8). Tyler Louden added 14 points, Trevor Burden had 11 and Dillon Callicoat had 10.
For the Hillclimbers (12-9), Jace Underwood scored 19 points, Kalen Howell had 14, Levi Boettcher had 14 and Riley Emmons scored 11.
In the jayvee game, West Liberty-Salem won, 44-42. Tyler Jones had 12 points in that game for the Tigers. Isaiah Fonseca had 14 for Urbana and Grant Hower had 12.
In the freshman game, West Liberty-Salem won, 51-20. Ethan Cole scored 10 points for the Tigers in that contest.
On Friday, West Liberty-Salem hosts Triad while Urbana (12-9) hosts Shawnee.
Graham downs Mechanicsburg
Graham senior Andrew Ford continued his quest for the CBC scoring title with 27 points – including 6 threes in the second quarter – as the Falcons defeated Mechanicsburg, 79-51, in non-league boys basketball on Tuesday.
Chris Taylor had 23 points for Mechanicsburg.
In the second round of the CBC tournament, the Urbana 7th grade boys basketball team lost to Indian Valley, 64-16. Urbana finishes the season at 5-13.
In the 8th grade boys tourney, Shawnee beat Urbana, 60-23. Urbana finishes the season at 3-15.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.