Devils ground Clippers, 52-40
GREENFORD-After a thrilling overtime win over Jackson-Milton in last weekend’s sectional round, the Lisbon Blue Devils did themselves one better Wednesday night.
After leading by double digits for much of the game, the fifth-seeded Blue Devils were able to withstand a late rally to upset second-seeded Columbiana 52-40 in Div IV district semifinal action at South Range High School.
“It’s really hard to describe how proud I am of our players right now,” Lisbon coach Jason Thompson said. “We are playing our best basketball of the season right now. Everyone on the team bought into our gameplan tonight and we were able to go out there and execute.”
Lisbon (15-10) was led by 15 points by senior Pam Pierce, along with 11 points from Tiffany Ketchum, and 12 from Sarah Boyd.
Columbiana (21-4) got 18 points from Khylea Fullum
“Tonight was a total team effort,” Pierce said. “Everybody who was on the floor stepped up and found a way to contribute.”
Although the Clippers-who beat Lisbon 47-35 in the regular season-were pegged as a heavy favorite, the Blue Devils were not in awe, as evidenced by a 15-5 run to close the first quarter. The spurt wiped out an early 6-0 Clipper lead and gave Lisbon a lead it would not relinquish.
“There was no doubt in our minds we would be able to play with them,” Pierce said. “We felt that we could have easily beat them in the regular season but we made some mistakes late in the game that cost us. This time we were ready.”
Lisbon increased the lead to 11 by halftime thanks to a three-point barrage led by Boyd with four and Hannah Prasco with two.
“All throughout the first half I just tried to stay calm on focus on my shots,” Boyd said. My teammates did a great job at a finding me in the right spots to shoot and I was able to connect.”
“I give Lisbon a lot of credit,” Columbiana coach Ron Moschella said. “They came out and hit a bunch of shots early.” We also did not box out and rebound very well which gave them lots of chances.”
Lisbon’s lead swelled to 36-20 midway through the third quarter before Columbiana turned up the defensive pressure and began to steadily chip away. With three minutes remaining, the lead was down to 44-40, the closest it had been since the first quarter.
“We knew they would eventually start to trap us defensively, and we got really stagnant on offense for a while,” Thompson said. “I was really proud though of how calm all of our players stayed throughout that period.”
As the game wound to a close, it was the Clippers turn to struggle offensively. They would not score a single point for the remainder of the game. Lisbon finally got some separation with a minute to go on a putback by Pierce to make it 47-40. from there the Devils were able to ice the game at the free throw line.
“Our team has started clicking tohether really well over these last two practices,” Pierce said. “Me and Katy (Crismon) never stopped believing in this team. I’m glad we can keep playing at least one more game”
Lisbon advances to face top-seeded Lowellville for the district championship at 2 p.m. Saturday at Mineral Ridge High School.
“Lowellville is a tremendous team,” Thompson said. “In order to win we are going to have to duplicate our effort tonight. For now though, I’m just going to enjoy this one.”