ST. PARIS – Urbana defeated rival Graham, 58-56, in CBC/MRD girls basketball on Monday.
The Falcons cut a big Urbana lead down to a single possession at the end of three quarters, but couldn’t push into the lead down the stretch.
“The last four or five games, we’ve played better. We’ve gone away from our zone and played a lot more man defense, which makes us more upbeat,” Graham Coach Randy Tyler said. “We’ve been more competitive, we just run out of gas at the end.”
Urbana, powered by Alaina Lyons’ offense, jumped out to a 28-18 advantage at halftime. Lyons had 15 points in the first half and finished with 22 for the game. Samantha Rooney had 14 points and Marissa Horn scored 13 for Urbana.
In the second half, UHS seemed more intent to push the ball into the post, with the team trying to take advantage of the space created by Graham’s attention to Lyons outside.
However, Graham wasn’t content to just watch Urbana penetrate or bang the ball inside.
The Falcons made adjustments and came roaring back, closing the deficit to a single score at the end of the third quarter.
The score remained tight throughout the rest of the game, narrowing to two points with less than a minute to play.
“We came out and won the third quarter, which was big. We always try to come out of halftime and win the first three minutes, so we can win that third quarter,” Tyler said. “Tonight, we did that. But (Urbana) played good and had a good game plan against us.”
UHS, so reliant on Lyons early, had allowed her to become lost in the second-half scrum and had become sloppy and inconsistent with the basketball late.
“I guess they just felt a little bit of pressure and started not taking care of the ball. We tried to get (Lyons) the ball a little more in the third quarter. She just wasn’t as involved as we needed her to be. So we refocused that in the fourth quarter,” UHS Coach Amanda Mounce said. “I think that was the biggest difference – just getting her back involved.
“I can’t say enough about the way our girls have battled. We’ve been undersized all year and just being strong and having that mentality, I couldn’t ask for more out of those kids. They have to fight and scrap for everything.”
Lexi King had 24 points for the Falcons (2-20, 0-10 CBC) and Katelyn Nash scored 14, breaking the school record for three-pointers with a long-range bucket in the second half. Machaela Whaley added 8.
The Falcons take on Trotwood Madison on Thursday in the first round of sectional play. Urbana (5-17, 3-7 CBC) will face Versailles at Covington on Thursday in the Division III sectional.
Graham’s first-round tournament game will take place at Springfield High School on Thursday at 6 p.m., not at Tecumseh High School.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.