Urbana dominates Shawnee for sectional title

Urbana senior forward Riley Emmons dribbles during a Division II sectional final against Shawnee on Friday. BRYANT BILLING / CONTRIBUTED

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Urbana senior forward Riley Emmons dribbles during a Division II sectional final against Shawnee on Friday. BRYANT BILLING / CONTRIBUTED

Urbana wanted to make a statement in Saturday’s Division II sectional final against Shawnee and wasted no time doing so. The Hillclimbers scored the first 14 points and dominated Shawnee until the final buzzer in a 51-27 win.

It’s the second consecutive sectional championship for Urbana (15-9), which advances to face Trotwood-Madison in a district final next Wednesday at UD Arena.

“This shows how much work we’ve been putting together and how we’ve been working together as a team,” senior forward Riley Emmons said. “It’s just great to do this again, especially since we lost more games (in regular season) than we wanted.”

Emmons fought through a sore ankle to lead the team with 17 points. Emmons, senior Kalen Howell and junior Levi Boettcher are 6-foot-5, and Shawnee struggled to get shot opportunities against the three players in the post. Urbana coach Jeremy Dixon credited the three for helping to make Urbana’s 1-3-1 zone defense work perfectly.

“Our guys were flying all over the place,” Dixon said. “I think they were making things very difficult for Shawnee.”

Urbana was the No. 1 seed in the sectional, and Emmons said the team was determined to back that up. He also said Urbana wanted a better performance against Shawnee after winning a regular season matchup by 12 points on Feb. 17.

“We played to our full potential this time,” Emmons said. “We had a great start. The energy was great.”

Howell hit a basket at the first-quarter buzzer to give Urbana an 18-4 lead. Levi Boettcher scored in the post with three minutes left to boost the lead to 26-6, and Urbana never led by less than 19 points after that.

“It’s tough for us to get down like that because we can’t score it in bunches,” Shawnee coach Chris McGuire said. “We pressed a little bit, but we had trouble getting stops for the longest time. Urbana played well.”

Urbana (15-9) lost to Aiken in a district final last year and will try to earn a championship next Wednesday. It will be a tough task against Trotwood (23-2), which was ranked second in the state in the final Associated Press state poll.

“We’ve got to have the best week of practice we’ve had,” Emmons said. “We’ve got to watch their film and give them our best game.”

Shawnee juniors Billy Lord, Aaron Schack and Camden Van Velzor all averaged over 11 points per game this season. That makes McGuire excited for the future, especially since the Braves (11-14) won six of their last eight games.

“I think these guys realize we have to work and keep getting better, and it’s a great experience to play in three sectional games,” McGuire said. “Hopefully it gives them that taste of success to motivate them for next season.”

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