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Experienced Lisbon cruises past Bulldogs

LISBON — The Lisbon Blue Devils entered their game with East Palestine having a distinct edge.

The Devils, having already played eight games compared to the Bulldogs, who were playing their first contest, used that advantage to throttle the Bulldogs 66-26.

“The best thing about it is that these kids got to come out and play,” Bulldogs coach Will Stanton said. “It was nice to finally get out to play. The kids came out and played tough even though the scoreboard doesn’t show it. It’s our first game and their (Lisbon’s) eighth. I told the kids that there is no excuse for this, but you have to look at that.”

While the time off hurt East Palestine, it also caused some issues for the Blue Devils.

“It was a catch-22,” said Blue Devils coach Chris Huckshold about facing a Bulldogs team that hadn’t played yet. ” Not knowing what to expect, or what to prepare for. Basically winging it. You don’t have a scrimmage film or anything. Coach Stanton will have them playing better basketball, and I’m sure that when we go over to East Palestine it will be a different team, and they will be way more prepared.”

The victory improves the Blue Devils to 7-2 on the season, 4-0 in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference. The Devils bounced back from a hard-fought 66-54 loss to Heartland Christian on Monday night.

“Regardless of wins and losses, it’s always nice to get back on the court the next day,” Huckshold said. “We had a tough, emotional game and we didn’t play our best. The kids obviously were not happy last night, but they quickly learned from it and got to come out the next night and got to play. That’s a positive.”

His players felt the same way.

They needed to get the bad taste out of their mouths.

“It was very important to come back to our home floor and just get back into the momentum of the season and get another one in the W column,” Devils senior Blayne Brownfield said.

Brownfield led the Devils with 18 points and 7 rebounds.

The Blue Devils jumped out to an early 16-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. They started the second quarter with a 7-2 run to boost their lead to 23-7 early in the frame before heading into the intermission with a 31-15 advantage.

The Devils blew the game open in the third quarter with a 7-0 run to start the second half. They scored 30 points total in the stanza to lead 61-22 at the end of the period. Both teams substituted freely in the final period as they combined to only score nine points total in the frame.

“We’re 7 and 2 after tonight,” Huckshold said. “Last year at this time we were 2 and 6, so those first games that we lost last year, the senior leadership and young guys starting to learn, picking up things. Those losses last year are wins this year.”

The height of the Blue Devils was tough for East Palestine to overcome.

“They are a bigger team,” Stanton said. “We worked hard on moving fast. But how do you stop that when you don’t have a big kid? We couldn’t do anything other than hustle around them. I’m happy with the first game and there are things we need to fix, yes. But I’m happy that we came out and played hard. At the end of the day, that is the thing that you can build upon.”

The Blue Devils host Columbiana on Friday. The Bulldogs try to bounce back when they host Valley Christian this Friday.

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