LISBON — In an entertaining game between neighboring boys’ basketball teams that never met a shot they didn’t like, the difference Monday night was the one Lisbon’s Josh Huston didn’t let Oak Hill take.
After emerging from the timeout huddle, Huston anticipated an inbounds pass to Adam Merrill and knocked it loose with four seconds remaining.
The ball made the slow, perilous roll away from the Oak Hill basket and trickled out of bounds as time expired, sealing Lisbon’s 65-64 MVC win before a capacity crowd at sweltering Manchester Gym.
“It was a really good win. It could have been a good win or a bad loss, one of those games,” Lisbon coach Jake Gentle said. “I think the guy just kind of exposed it, and Josh got his hand in there and tipped it away. It was a great defensive play by him. Possibly risky, because if you foul, they go to the free-throw line, but it worked out well.”
Oak Hill (1-1) rallied from eight points down in the final 90 seconds and nearly stole one from Lisbon (1-1), which missed the front end of two 1-and-1s and had the ball taken away three times in that span.
Kyle Field cut through the middle for a bucket and Dalton Therrien drained a 3-pointer to start the rally. After an exchange of steals by Therrien and Noah Carter, Therrien took it back a second time and dropped it in to start a potential game-tying 3-point play.
The free throw rolled off the rim, however, but Lisbon returned the favor at the other end with 26 seconds remaining, and Drew Gamage hauled down the rebound.
Field and Gamage each missed from close range. Tyrese Joseph crashed to the floor to grab the second carom. Merrill took it away. Oak Hill was off the mark again, but Therrien snagged the rebound and signaled for timeout to give the Raiders a final opportunity.
“This is the second close game we’ve had,” Oak Hill coach Tom Smith said. “St. Dom’s, we finished that one off. This one was close. They hit clutch shots. We hit clutch shots. We had a chance there at the end. There are a lot of positives from this game. We played well.”
Merrill led Oak Hill with 20 points to go with six steals and five rebounds. Therrien chipped in 14 points, five boards and five thefts.
The Greyhounds exhibited balance and prevailed on the strength of late contributions from players who were quiet much of the night.
Noah Carter hit two 3-pointers in a minute to give Lisbon a 63-56 lead with 1:55 left. Carter, a 5-foot-5 junior, finished with 12 points and six assists.
“We kept a cool head and finished the job,” Carter said. “We gave it to the people that were hot at the end. We started hitting shots and came out with the win.”
Freshman Jonah Sautter scored five of his nine points in the fourth quarter. Darren Ward and Joseph each had a crucial basket down the stretch.
Johnny Yim scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the first quarter, countering a red-hot start by the Raiders and keeping the Greyhounds within striking distance at 23-19.
“We talked after the first quarter and said, ‘Guys, that’s not sustainable.’ I think the second quarter we gave up nine, so it was better,” Gentle said. “They probably didn’t shoot as well as they would liked to after the first quarter, and we sort of stayed consistent with our shooting.”
No shot clock was necessary.
The teams put up 132 attempts. Each sank eight 3-pointers. There were 12 lead changes and eight ties through the first three quarters.
“We’re not going to look to pound it inside too often,” Gentle said. “If we’ve got an open shot, we’re taking it and looking to crash.”
Lisbon matched a 9-0 run by Oak Hill with one of its own to grab a 25-23 lead on two Sautter free throws with 5:32 to go in the first half.
Oak Hill went 2-for-15 from the floor in that quarter, but sank 5-of-6 from the line in the final 1:30 and trailed only 34-32 at the break. Joe Philbrick’s five defensive rebounds for Lisbon in the period reduced the Raiders to one-and-done on most possessions.
Merrill rained down three 3-pointers early in the third to restore the Raiders’ lead.”I give them the green light,” Smith said. “They’ve played together. Jonah (Martin), Dalton, Adam, Kyle and Drew are really starting to figure out that we can be pretty competitive this year.”
Lisbon used another 9-0 surge to nudge ahead, but it took a step-back 3-pointer by Andrew Golino (10 points, seven rebounds) to give the Greyhounds the lead for good, 50-47, at the end of three.
Sautter started the fourth with another trey, and the Raiders were in catch-up mode for the duration.
“We played our hearts out tonight,” Carter said. “They definitely hit more shots than we would like, but we did come back and started hitting our shots as the game went on.”
Martin added nine points, while Gamage coupled eight points with a game-high 13 rebounds for the Raiders. Lisbon’s near downfall was its 5-for-16 struggle from the line.
The game shared the drama of Oak Hill’s 7-6 football playoff win less than a month ago and featured many of the same participants on both sides.
“If the first two games are any indication, we’re in for a great season,” Smith said.