BRUNSWICK — The last time a Lisbon High School boys’ basketball team advanced to the postseason, it was the 2005-06 season. The seventh-seeded Greyhounds that year lost to Poland in a Western Maine Class B preliminary contest.
What followed was eight years of tough times before this year’s Greyhounds put together an eight-game mid-season winning streak and qualified for the Western C playoffs with an 11-7 record and the seventh-seed again.
Unfortunately for Lisbon, this year’s prelim ended with Lisbon again one win away from taking that step to the next round, as 10th-seeded Hall-Dale shot lights-out from the start and pulled away late for a 63-45 victory.
The game was played at Brunswick High School because Lisbon’s home court fails to meet the Maine Principals’ Association’s regulations.
But, Hall-Dale (10-9) made itself at home, shooting 61 percent (8-of-13) in the opening quarter en route to a 17-5 lead, and the Bulldogs controlled the boards, both in the offensive and defensive ends to the tune of a 32-14 rebounding advantage.
“They crashed extremely well for any missed shot that they had, which didn’t seem like a lot because they didn’t miss much in the first half,” said Lisbon coach Jake Gentle. “They moved the ball well, got some turnovers on us early and had some easy transition baskets. The didn’t shoot much from the outside, but when they did they knocked them down. I give them credit, they made their shots.”
“They shot well, and did what they had to do,” said Lisbon senior guard Kendal Roy, who had a splendid night himself with 20 points, including four long-range 3-pointers. “We needed Augusta for this to be the ultimate success. This was a great group of guys to play with, and we are disappointed right now.”
Leading 4-3, Hall-Dale caught fire. Nat Crocker had six points in the opening frame, and Quinn Stebbins capped the big opening frame with a 3-pointer for a 12-point Bulldogs lead.
Lisbon had six turnovers in the opening frame and made just two of its 11 shots.
Roy tried to keep the Greyhounds in the game. He scored eight points in the second quarter to finish with 11 in the opening half. However, Crocker matched that total and dished out six assists, with Brian Allen adding nine points to give Hall-Dale a 33-20 halftime lead.
Hall-Dale lost its shooting touch to begin the third quarter, missing five consecutive shots. But, Lisbon made just one shot, a Jacob Johnston putback, and committed three costly turnovers. Allen and Crocker hit from the outside for a 37-22 Bulldogs lead, but Lisbon closed the quarter on an 11-5 run, with Roy adding seven more points to get the Greyhounds to 42-33 after 24 minutes.
The final frame started well for the ’Hounds, as senior forward Tucker Brannon was hacked on a drive into the lane. Brannon scored the basket and made the free throw for a three-point play to get Lisbon to within six points, 42-36.
The Greyhounds forced a Hall-Dale turnover, but returned the favor moments later, and the Bulldogs put together a 6-0 run to take control again.
“We just couldn’t make enough defensive stops,” said Gentle, who praised Hall-Dale. “Crocker played outstanding, Allen and (Wesley) Lapointe were tough inside, and they kept us off the boards, just four or five offensive rebounds in the game.”
Brannon, who finished with 11 points, didn’t give up, hitting a short jumper to get Lisbon to 50-40 with four minutes remaining, but Allen twice battled for an offensive board and scored, and Lapointe completed a three-point play with 3:05 left to put Lisbon away.
Gentle left the court proud of his team’s efforts this season.
“It was a really great season for Lisbon boys basketball,” said Gentle of his 11-8 squad. “We are really proud of how we played. We won 11 games, eight in a row, and I can’t be any more proud of them. It’s tough right now, but they will keep their heads up and just keep moving forward.”
Hall-Dale, which faces second-seeded Boothbay in the Western C quarterfinals on Monday, shot 45 percent (25 of 55) from the floor and finished 11 of 14 at the free-throw line. Allen had a team-high 19 points and pulled down nine boards, while Crocker added 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals, and Lapointe nine points and 13 rebounds.
Lisbon was 17 of 50 (34 percent) from the field and five of seven at the charity stripe.