Crusaders’ start does in Lisbon
By BRANDON JUDEH
The Lisbon boys basketball team got into trouble early in a 60–44 loss to Canton Central Catholic in a Division III district final Friday night at Salem High School.
Central Catholic’s hot shooting and full-court pressure helped the Crusaders jump out to a 16-2 lead in the first quarter and cruised the rest of the way.
“I don’t know if it was necessarily so much the press that hurt us,” Lisbon head coach Chris Huckshold said. “I think it was more of us being in a hurry and forcing up some shots.
“We should have done a little more pump faking and driving the ball hard to the basket, but it’s tough when for 25 games our kids have been catching and shooting the ball.”
By the end of the first quarter the Crusaders (15-10) led by 13.
Things didn’t get much better in the second quarter as Central Catholic continued their offensive onslaught, shooting better 50 percent in the first half.
The Crusaders’ accurate shooting and tough defense helped them carry a 37-17 lead into the locker room.
“Canton has some athletic kids who closed out hard and they were getting pieces of our shots and they did a great job,” Huckshold said. “At the beginning of the season, I honestly knew that we had the talent to get to where we are at. It was a special season and these kids broke all kinds of records.”
The Blue Devils (21-5) set a school record for wins in a season. Sophomore Josh Liberati now holds the single-season assists record and classmate Avery Andric has the most 3-pointers in a season.
Lisbon set a single-season team scoring record.
Liberati led the Blue Devils with 14 points and six assists in the season-ending loss. He also had six steals.
Andric scored 10 points and Austin Rutecki added nine points and seven boards.
Lisbon figures to return to contention next year as the Blue Devils return all but one player — senior Matt Spencer.
Six of their top seven players are sophomores.
“I think this loss will open up this team’s eyes and show them that there is a lot more work to be done,” Huckshold said. “Players usually improve the most from sophomore to junior year, so I’m excited to see what they can do.”
Spencer was all smiles as he walked off the court for the final time, knowing that the team will be left in good hands.
“The team coming back is very young, but the only person that can beat them is themselves,” Spencer said. “I like the fact that I kind of got to be the ‘big brother-type’ to these guys.
“This season has been like non other I have ever been a part of, I’m glad to be going out on such a great team like this.”
Christian Creamer scored 12 points and Josh Schott added 10 for the Crusaders.