Lisbon High School student-helper Nick Lerette, left, tosses the ball to teammate Dawson Martel under the basket during a Unified basketball quarterfinal game in Lisbon on Thursday. The Greyhounds advanced to the semifinals with a 41-29 win.

Lisbon High School student-helper Nick Lerette, left, tosses the ball to teammate Dawson Martel under the basket during a Unified basketball quarterfinal game in Lisbon on Thursday. The Greyhounds advanced to the semifinals with a 41-29 win.

LISBON — The Lisbon High School Unified basketball team may only go as far as Jake Patenaude takes it.

The Greyhounds were back in playoff action against Edward Little on Thursday, and thanks to a game-high 18 points from Patenaude, they’re headed to the semifinals after a comfortable 41-29 win.

“On the court, I think he’s grown with more confidence,” Lisbon coach Terri Tlumac said of Patenaude. “I think that’s a tribute to our partners, who have really built him up and allowed him to be the good basketball player that I think he always had inside of him.”

No. 3 Lisbon (8-2) and No. 7 Edward Little (5-5) exchanged a pair of buckets and a free throw to start the game at 5-5, but then Patenaude got going. After converting on one layup inside, he put up a trey a few possessions later and got his own rebound before scoring again. He tallied 10 of the Greyhounds’ 25 first-half points.

Patenaude has emerged as Lisbon’s go-to scorer, and, in true Unified fashion, he’s growing off the court, too.

“He started off a little rough,” student-helper Tyler Halls said. “He hasn’t had the best childhood, but he’s improved a lot. We’ve helped him out along the way, and it’s just awesome to see him grow as a player and a student and a friend.”

“Off the court, academically and socially, it’s been great for him,” Tlumac said. “Just the peers in the hallway, at lunch. They’re all buddies and it’s great.”

If it wasn’t for Tlumac’s set two-minute rotation, he might have scored a lot more. The Greyhounds seem to have the system down to a science, with players and partners moving on and off the floor smoothly throughout the game. Of 18 total players that got time, all but a few contributed with points or rebounds.

Even in the playoffs, it’s that kind of selfless nature that’s atop the list of priorities.

“Here at Lisbon, our Unified program, we’re competitive, but we like to treat everyone equally and share the same amount of playing time,” Halls said.

“I think because we set the precedent from day one,” Tlumac said. “They know that every two minutes, you’re getting rotated out, you’re getting rotated out. If they’re having a good game or a bad game, they always know that that’s the same expectation.”

Score aside, Sandy Whiting had a similar rotation of subs going on the Edward Little bench.

“Unified is about the unity of the school,” Whiting said. “Getting all our kids to work together. Seeing them grow and seeing them work as a team. And not only on the court, but off the court, in the school. They look after each other and it’s great to see that mix. Usually our kids are just by themselves and they don’t know about our kids. It’s wonderful.”

Hanging around

The Greyhounds led by nine points at halftime and extended the lead early in the second. Wesley Lucas helped Patenaude and added four of his eight points after the break, while Amanda Mason and Michael Farrington chipped in with their lone buckets of the day.

Edward Little didn’t go away, though. Ben Dumont, who notched a team-best eight points, scored inside and sunk a free throw in the middle of the frame, and Gage Cloutier came off the bench to add four more points. With under three minutes to go, the Red Eddies were back within 10.

For just a minute, Tlumac had to worry about the score.

“That’s a hard balance,” she said. “Especially when you play more competitive teams like today. I think that it’s the values you instill in your team from the beginning so that they know, no matter if it’s a really good team or a not-so-strong team, that the reason for this program is for the athletes. And that the partners are still doing what’s important for the athletes to grow.”

“Everyone loves winning, but to come down to it, it’s Unified for a reason,” Halls said. “We’re all together, we’re all equal and we’re playing this for a cause, not to win. To have fun and for the cause.”

Student-helper Ryley Austin used one of his designated buckets with a couple minutes to go and Patenuade added another lay-in late as Lisbon remained comfortably in front. Patenaude and Halls split 12 rebounds and Lucas pulled in five in the first half.

Chet Barnard add four points for Edward Little, and Carter Culleton sunk the game’s only 3-pointer. The Red Eddies got plenty of cheers from the Lisbon crowd and despite the loss, Whiting ended the season with a smile.

“It’s amazing to see the crowd stand behind these kids,” she said. “Letting them get their shot at something. It’s awesome. We’ve been a part of the program the last three years and I’ve seen it grow since then. I’ve seen more participation from the community and it’s amazing.”

Lisbon will host Bonny Eagle in the semifinals Friday at 4 p.m.

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