LISBON — Lisbon High School’s tiny gymnasium provided plenty of relief from the winter chill Saturday night. Perhaps a little too much, as spectators were seen peeling off layers early in the Greyounds’ Mountain Valley Conference matchup with St. Dom’s.

The Greyhounds, however, found little relief from the Saints’ stifling halfcourt defense in the second half. St. Dom’s held Lisbon to just three points in the third quarter and pulled away for a 52-39 victory.

Sophomore guard Peter Keaney had 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks for the Saints, who never trailed. Kurt Johnson chipped in with 10 points. Tobey Harrington led the Greyhounds with eight points off the bench.

Leading 26-20 at halftime, St. Dom’s switched from fullcourt pressure to halfcourt man-to-man defense and limited Lisbon to 1-for-6 shooting from the field while forcing 11 turnovers to open a 19-point cushion. Lisbon finished the game shooting 29 percent from the floor while St. Dom’s, benefiting from Keaney and Johnson’s penetration, shot a healthy 45 percent, 50 percent through the first three quarters.

“We were over-pressing, over-gambling and giving them open looks in the second quarter,” Saints coach Ryan Deschenes said. “We went halfcourt man straight-up in the third and got a lot of stops. Then we went and really executed our motion spread offense in the halfcourt and got a lot of good looks there.”

Nathan Poulin got the Saints (2-2) off to a quick start in the second half with his only points of the game, a 3-pointer, on their first possession. Harrington answered with the Greyhounds’ only field goal of the quarter. After a Chris Bryant hoop, Johnson scored on a drive to the hoop to put the lead in double digits for good, then converted a steal into a runner. Keaney followed with a layup, then T.J. Novella (eight points) and Tim Day (eight points, nine rebounds) chipped in with layups off of their own steals for a 41-23 lead.

“You play sound, halfcourt pressure, man-to-man defense, you still force tempo, you still force bad decisions,” Deschenes said. 

“In the first half we were rushing and we turned the ball over,” Keaney said. “In the second half, we just calmed down and slowed the game down and didn’t turn it over as much. We had 10 turnovers in the first half and then six in the second, and we got better looks.”

Lisbon (0-4) tried to take advantage of its stuffy home court by substituting early and often in the first half. Back-to-back hoops by Ethan Audie pulled the Greyhounds to within 7-6 late in the first quarter, but that was as close as they would get.

The Saints threatened to pull away in the second quarter with a 9-2 run that put them up 12 early in the period. A 3-pointer by Chris Whitney and a pull-up jumper from Alex Branson got the Greyhounds back into it at 20-17, but Johnson closed the half with a couple of drives to the rim to double the Saints’ lead at the break.

“We came out really intense, ready to play and tried to control some of the tempo,” Lisbon coach Eric Hall said. “But St. Dom’s is a very good team that is going to be playing in Augusta. They’re a team that likes to go fullcourt and get out into transition, and we’re not there yet.”

“Our defense has stepped up. We stressed that this summer,” he added. “But one of the things we’re trying to do is find an offensive identity. We need to feel confident and in control and be patient.”


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