NEW CARLISLE — Urbana fought back from an early deficit, but was unable to get over the hump and lost 46-44 to Shawnee in the opening round of the girls Division II sectional basketball tournament at Tecumseh on Monday.
Shawnee built an early 15-3 lead after one quarter of play, thanks to a trio of three-pointers and matador defense by Urbana.
“The kids have to learn to play for 32 minutes,” UHS Coach Bill Moss said. “We can’t start the game digging ourselves a hole. Then you’re always battling uphill.”
After a quick timeout early in the second quarter, the Hillclimbers seemed to tighten things up and cut the lead to five points with 90 seconds remaining in the half. Shawnee was able to push it back out to 23-15 at halftime.
The second half saw Urbana start to find a rhythm inside, with Katy Curnutte and Hunter Rogan bullying their way to the basket again and again for scores.
Urbana was able to cut the Braves’ lead to a single point a couple of times, including at the end of the third when the score was 31-30 in favor of Shawnee. The Hillclimbers were even able to tie it up, but couldn’t snatch the lead away.
“We had chances to make plays and we just didn’t get it done. That’s kinda been our story all year long,” Moss said.
Rogan fouled out at the 3:29 mark, taking her 18 points and 10 rebounds with her. That was the beginning of the end for Urbana.
Shawnee eventually extended the lead back to a comfortable margin, but Urbana wiped it away with a barrage of three-pointers in the final minute, forcing the Braves to seal the win at the line.
“They put in great effort. I’m happy with the effort in the second half, we just didn’t start the game with the energy we needed,” Moss said. “I’m proud of the girls and the way they battled. We made it a game all the way to the end. We didn’t quit. That was the big thing.”
Curnutte finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Natalie Seeberg pulled down 13 rebounds. Urbana was 6-of-13 at the free throw line, while Shawnee tallied a 13-of-26 performance.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.