The Blue Devils found their comfort zone in the second half to win a key game against Sebring.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
LISBON -- Lisbon High basketball coach Joe Siefke wasn't interested in being cute.
He had just watched his team get outscored 26-6 in the second quarter -- squandering a 13-point lead in the process -- to trail visiting Sebring 35-25 at halftime.
So Siefke did what any smart coach would do in the second half -- he got the ball to his tallest player, 6-foot-6-inch senior Ben Dickey.
"He's our bread and butter," Siefke said. "They did a nice job defensively on him in the first half, so we really made an effort to get him the ball. He was much more aggressive and got some shots."
Key win: After being held scoreless in the first half Friday, Dickey scored 11 points and sophomore Lucian Smith added 17 in the second half as the Blue Devils swept the season series and took over first place in the Tri-County League with a 60-45 win.
With two games to play, Lisbon (13-3, 10-2) sits atop the TCL standings, while Sebring (12-4, 9-3) dropped into second place.
"We talked to the team at halftime and told them that if we were going to make a comeback, it would have to come on the defensive end," Siefke said.
So he switched his defense and held Sebring to 10 points in the third quarter to cut Lisbon's deficit to 45-41 entering the fourth.
Then Sebring's roof caved in.
The Trojans hit their last basket with 1:14 left in the third quarter and didn't score again, shooting 0-for-10 in the fourth and 0-for-2 from the foul line.
"They're a huge team and they're a lot more physical," Sebring coach Brian Clark said. "They've probably got four of the six biggest players in the league. They get out and disrupt your offense."
Go-ahead hoop: Smith hit a 3-pointer with 4:30 left to break a 45-45 tie, giving Lisbon its first lead of the second half.
Smith and Dickey combined to score the Blue Devils' final 18 points.
"After they stretched the lead, we started shooting 3-pointers," Clark said. "If they don't go in, you can't get back in it."
Smith finished with 20 points and Matt Adams added 11.
Junior Greg Van Kirk led Sebring with 19 points and sophomore David Scarpitti added 14 points -- all in the first half.
Lisbon looked like it would run away with the game in the first quarter, hitting six of its first eight shots to take a 14-3 lead in the first four minutes.
The Blue Devils led 19-9 after one, but shot just 2-for-8 in the second quarter and committed 10 turnovers.
Lisbon shot 19 of 40 (47.5 percent) from the field and 16 of 21 from the foul line -- including 12 of 14 in the fourth quarter. Sebring hit 19 of 43 (44 percent) from the field and was 2 of 7 from the line.
Timing: The Blue Devils -- who start four seniors and a sophomore -- seemed to pull together just when Sebring -- which has just one senior on the team -- unraveled.
Still, Siefke couldn't remember coaching in such an unusual game.
"I don't think so," he said. "This game was very unique."