Urbana has claimed a Division II boys basketball sectional title once again under Coach Jeremy Dixon, but the Hillclimbers now have to face off against Trotwood Madison in the district final on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Dayton Arena.
It’s a true mammoth of a matchup, with Trotwood ranked 10th overall in the state by MaxPreps and Urbana at 296th. Trotwood was ranked second in Division II in the final AP poll of the season.
“We have our hands full, no doubt about it. The biggest thing you worry about with them is live ball turnovers,” Dixon said. “You can’t turn the ball over while the ball is in play because they’re so good in transition. And when they do miss, you have to get the defensive rebound.”
Still, it’s worth seeing how the game plays out, since Dixon often works with the athletic department to schedule games against bigger, tougher schools specifically to equip his squads for this type of contest.
“Trotwood’s really good, but I don’t think our guys are going to be in awe or anything,” he said. “They’re 23-2 for a reason, but I’m not worried about our composure or the moment being too big.”
It won’t be an easy contest, with Trotwood averaging 91 points per game over the course of the season. It scored 90 points or more 14 times and 100 or more six times. And while Urbana can score – it put up 100 against Greenon and 85 against Troy – the Hillclimbers simply value efficiency over volume, averaging 58 points per game.
“It’s definitely a clash of styles. It’s going to be a mix of oil and water. We’re not afraid to get up and down a little bit, but we’ve got to make sure we make them play in the half court. There’s no question that we know what to do, it’s just whether we’re going to be able to do it,” Dixon said.
The Urbana attack is led by Jace Underwood at 16.2 points per game. Twin towers Levi Boettcher and Kalen Howell are also impact players, with Boettcher averaging 12 points and 6.5 rebounds and Howell more than 10.5 points with 4.7 rebounds. Riley Emmons is coming on strong lately after averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds for the year, but hurt his ankle in the third quarter of Saturday’s sectional final – a game in which he led the team in scoring. His status for Wednesday is in doubt, with Dixon admitting that Emmons didn’t practice Monday and was likely to sit out Tuesday as well.
“(He) played probably the best two games of his career in our sectional games,” Dixon said. “Hopefully he’s going to be able to go. He’s a senior, so it’s kind of ‘do or die’ time.”
As easy as Urbana made its sectional look, Trotwood was even more impressive, winning by a combined 313-143 in three games.
Tickets for Wednesday’s game are available for $6 each at the UHS athletic office.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.