URBANA — Urbana and visiting Jonathan Alder played a thrilling game in a battle of division leaders Tuesday in CBC boys basketball, with the visiting Pioneers coming away with a 41-40 victory that snapped Urbana’s eight-game winning streak.
Things started a bit dicey for Urbana, with the Hillclimbers being uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball. A few turnovers punctuated the frame, with a general malaise hanging over the offensive end.
The result was the visitors on the leading side of things after a quarter, with Jonathan Alder up 11-6 when the buzzer sounded.
“We were not ready to go in the first quarter, that’s for sure,” UHS Coach Jeremy Dixon said. “Offensively, we were completely disjointed and we looked like we didn’t know what we were doing.”
Urbana woke up defensively in the second quarter, redoubling its effort at that end of the floor and holding steady while it chipped away on offense.
“We played a really good second quarter, I thought. Kinda dominated the action there,” Dixon said.
Urbana flipped the script, taking a 21-17 lead into the intermission after holding the Pioneers scoreless for the final two minutes of the half and breaking a 17-17 tie.
The second half was a tense struggle, with neither team able to gain much of an advantage before the other countered.
In fact, the fourth quarter went scoreless until the 4:30 mark, when an Alder three-pointer drew it even with the home team. Urbana immediately responded with a basket, regaining the lead.
It stayed that way until Alder hit a shot with less than a minute left that gave it a 41-40 edge, which proved to be the final.
“We got really excited and we played really hard, but we weren’t executing defensively very well,” Dixon said. “We got ourselves in position to win the game and the last three or four possessions of the game, we just blew it.”
Urbana (11-6, 6-3) had one last shot to win the game after forcing a turnover with 10 seconds left and calling a timeout. Jace Underwood brought the ball up the court and ran off a screen with Levi Boettcher, dumping it to the big man on his roll to the hoop.
But the defense collapsed with vigor, determined to stop the easy basket. Thwarted, Boettcher fired a screaming pass to Adam Gaver in the corner, who launched a wide-open trey as time expired. Gaver, who has proven he can hit that shot throughout the season despite limited minutes, could only watch as his attempt caromed high off the rim and away from the target.
“It was a two-man play for Jace and Levi. Jace had an option to come off the ball screen and score. He threw it Levi off the ball screen and then they just collapsed big-time on Levi and so we kicked it out there and got an open shot,” Dixon said. “That possession had nothing to do with (the loss). It was the three or four possessions before that.”
Boettcher had 13 points and Underwood added 10 for Urbana. Jacob Koenig and Cameron Androw each scored nine for Alder (13-4, 8-1), while Henry Walker added eight.
In the jayvee game, Alder won, 50-41. Marion Krebehenne had 14 points for Urbana.
In the freshman game, Urbana took a 36-35 win. Wyatt Teets scored 15 points in that one for UHS.
Urbana goes on the road to Shawnee on Friday for another CBC inter-divisional matchup.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331, ext. 1776, or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.