Urbana and visiting West Liberty-Salem were deadlocked in a heated contest early Tuesday night, but the Hillclimbers eventually pulled away to a 49-40 victory in a non-league boys basketball contest.
“I thought we really did a very good job defensively,” UHS Coach Jeremy Dixon said. “They average 59, 60 points per game, so to hold them to 40 is a pretty good accomplishment.”
The teams traded punches early, each racing out to a big first quarter and an 18-18 tie. Urbana was able to open up a lead in the second quarter thanks to some more solid shooting and better defense.
”We were very soft in the second quarter,” WL-S Coach Darrin Leichty said. “We started that way a little bit in the third quarter, too, but then we really got into it defensively. I was really pleased with our defensive effort – especially in the second half. That’s going to win us some games.”
The second half saw WL-S fight back to close the gap to 37-32 after three quarters, but Urbana was able to pull away by making foul shots down the stretch. For the game, Urbana was 12-of-12 from the line while WL-S was 11-of-12.
Jace Underwood led Urbana (13-6) with 16 points, including 8-of-8 at the stripe, with Cameron Logwood adding 15 and Jordan Underwood chipping in 9. Kannon Stillings scored 14 points to pace West Liberty-Salem (18-3) while Austin Miller scored 8.
Urbana won the jayvee game 51-38. Alex Lohnes scored 15 points and Dakota Hower had 14 for UHS. Cody King and Bryon Parks each poured in 11 points for WL-S.
Both the Tigers and the Hillclimbers have a tune-up left before the tournament – WL-S gets league rival Southeastern on the road and UHS gets cross-division CBC opponent Kenton Ridge next week.
“If we can play with that kind of toughness, we should have our way (going forward),” Leichty said.
Urbana plays at Greenon on Friday, while West Liberty-Salem wraps up its regular season on Friday at Southeastern.
Both UHS and WL-S can clinch outright league titles with wins.
“We try to teach life lessons here,” Dixon said. “In life, sharing is a very good thing. But we don’t like to share championships. We’ve got one more big step on Friday.”
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.