Urbana’s boys basketball team thought it had literally thrown the game away against host Frederick on Monday night.
Clinging to a one-point lead with 1.9 seconds left on the clock, the Hawks threw a near-side inbound pass across the court with no one there to take it, resulting in a turnover.
To make matters worse, the turnover happened near the Cadets’ basket. Meaning, a good inbound pass, a good perimeter shot, and Frederick would hand Urbana another close loss in a season full of them.
Instead, the Hawks pressured Frederick into taking a bad shot from the right corner, near the baseline. Urbana got the last rebound, time ran out, and the Hawks hung on for a 45-44 win — their first in 16 tries.
“We just played really hard, played together,” said Urbana’s Reese Prahl, who scored the last three points of the game for the Hawks, including the go-ahead bucket with 11.2 seconds to go.
“It was a good effort, we came out on top,” he added. “We just hung in there, played good defense.”
Monday’s win put an end to a lot of frustration for Urbana (1-15). Of its 15 losses, seven were by six points or less. Three were by one point, and one — a 60-55 loss to Tuscarora on Dec. 17 — was in overtime.
Urbana coach Mike Jarboe said his Hawks just couldn’t seem to get that much-needed break to come up with a win.
“I can’t even count up the number of games we lost by single digits,” Jarboe said. “Most of those games were tight to the end. It was good for these guys to finally get that win.”
Monday’s victory avenges a 52-46 loss to the Cadets (9-6) on Jan. 2.
Urbana led by as many as 12 in this second meeting but could not shake off stubborn Frederick. The Cadets continued to chip away at the lead until there was 2:30 to go in the game, when Jaden Arrington hit one of two foul shots to tie the score at 42.
Prahl was fouled with 1:50 left on the clock. He hit one of two free throws, giving Urbana 43-42 lead.
Both teams missed scoring chances over the next minute. Frederick briefly took the lead with 18 seconds to go in the game, when Adrian Adlam hit a shot from in the paint.
Prahl answered at the 11.2-second mark with a basket of his own in the paint, giving Urbana a 45-44 lead.
After a timeout, Frederick tried to work the ball down the court to set up a final shot but turned the ball over with about five seconds left, setting up the tricky ending that wound up in Urbana’s favor thanks to strong last-second defense.
“Our lockdown defenders, including Danny Marshall, trapped the corner and forced them to make a bad shot,” Urbana’s Justin Zimmerman (14 points, eight rebounds) said. “That was huge.”
To stop Frederick, Urbana packed the Frederick paint with a 2-3 zone, denying inside scoring opportunities. While Frederick enjoyed a 12-10 lead after the first quarter, the Hawks began their run to take the momentum away from the Cadets.
“The guys on the wings did a good job on defense with their blocks, getting Frederick’s big guys out,” Prahl said. “Arrington is deadly from mid-range. We had to make a good stop on him.”
Arrington was held to five points.
Urbana had a 23-21 lead at the half before opening up a big lead in the third quarter, holding Frederick to six points in the quarter.
Urbana won the junior varsity game 49-47. Thomas McGinley had 17 points for the Hawks. Logan Eversull had 14. For Frederick, Winslow Henson had 13 points. Ahmad Parker had 12.