LISBON -When Lisbon saw the Inter-Tri County League upper tier title slip out of its grasp earlier this month, the team had to look for some other goals to target before the season was finished.
One of the goals that was within reach was the school record for wins in a season.
Using a blistering first quarter, the Blue Devils matched the 1995-96 team for wins in a season by topping United 59-40 on Tuesday in a Division III sectional opener at Lisbon High School.
Lisbon is 19-4 on the season. The 1995-96 team finished 19-3.
"It's a nice accomplishment and this team is well-deserving of the accolades," Lisbon coach Chris Huckshold said. "I know a lot of people will look at the coaches when it comes to a record like this, but it's all about the team with this group of kids. They've worked hard to get here."
Lisbon will have to keep working hard to get the school record outright as the Devils host Southern in a Division III sectional final on Friday. Southern, 55-43 winners over Crestview in their sectional opener on Tuesday, beat Lisbon 49-44 on Jan. 24 at Lisbon.
"It's a chance at redemption," Lisbon senior Matt Spencer said. "We're excited about it."
Lisbon was 9 of 13 from the field in the first quarter as it jumped out to a 22-6 lead against United. Austin Rutecki scored nine of his team-high 17 points in that frame. He also had six rebounds.
In addition to tying the team record for wins, the Devils also had some individual season marks fall recently. Josh Liberati had 11 assists to push his season record to 159. He set the school mark last season with 140.
Avery Andric, who had 11 points and 10 rebounds, tallied three 3-pointers to push his season total to 49 to break the single-season mark of 46 previously held by Zach Williams (1995) and Zac Barnes (2012).
Tuesday's game marked the first time Lisbon hosted a sectional game as the Northeast District changed its policy from having sectional games played at neutral sites.
It was different for all involved to say the least.
"It was completely different," Spencer said. "We would usually be going up to Salem to practice there one time before the tournament. Now we have more home games which is nice. It sort of felt like another league game."
United coach Matt Mowery said it was tough to see tradition broken.
"It's not good for the basketball junkies who would just go to one place and see a bunch of games," Mowery said. "Now they have to pick and choose who they watch."
United (3-20) never really gave Lisbon any reason to worry on Tuesday as the closest the Eagles got was 15 points in a sluggish second half for both teams.
Braden Davison led the Eagles, who were 5 for 25 from the field in the first half, with 19 points.
Huckshold said the Devils were working on a few things against Eagles to better prepare them for what is ahead.
"Coach wants us to take smaller bites and play more consistent," Spencer said. "We have a habit of scoring in big chunks and then dropping off."
Spencer did his part against the Eagles as he scored 12 and had six boards. Josh Craig backed him up with 14 points.
UNITED: 6- 7-16-11-40
UNITED SCORING: Tanner Curfman 0-0-0, Caleb Berdine 1-0-3, Jake Clark 4-0-10, Cody Dickson 1-0-2, Matt Blake 1-2-4, Caleb Conser 0-2-2, Braden Davison 7-5-19, Eric Blosser 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 14-50, 9-15: 40.
LISBON SCORING: Matt Spencer 6-0-12, Josh Liberati 1-0-2, Austin Rutecki 7-2-17, Avery Andric 4-0-11, Josh Craig 6-1-14, Austin Davis 1-0-2, Trevor Reese 0-1-1, Colin Sweeney 0-0-0, Jake Liberati 0-0-0, Bailey McCullough 0-0-0, Jared Merriman 0-0-0, Jannick Schmidt 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 25-42, 4-6: 59.
Three-point goals: United 3 (Clark 2, Berdine), Lisbon 5 (Andric 3, Craig, Rutecki).