LISBON — Dirigo and Lisbon contested nearly every inch of the court, and points were hard to come by in Thursday’s Mountain Valley Conference boys’ basketball clash at Lisbon High School.

In the end, four key free throws by Lisbon standout DJ Douglass and one last rebound by teammate Issac Burnell allowed the hosts to hold on for a 40-37 victory.

Lisbon left its court with a 2-3 record, while the Cougars stand at 1-4. Both teams have eight days to recover and improve, with the Greyhounds visiting Richmond and Dirigo at home agaisnt Mt. Abram on Dec. 28.

Offensively, Douglass scored 24 points for Lisbon, hitting four 3-pointers, while Jeremy St. Germain paced Dirigo with 15 points.

The supporting cast for the Greyhounds was small, with forward Ring Ring picking up 10 points, including three key fourth-quarter buckets, while Corey Wiers hit two treys for six points.

Alex Gorham and Mateo Lapointe had six points apiece for Dirigo.

After the game, Lisbon coach Jake Gentle discussed the importance of team defense for his Greyhounds.

“It was 17-16 at halftime and I told them it was a great defensive first half, and their coach was probably saying the same things,” Gentle said. “We missed some easy shots, and so did they. It was tough offensively tonight.”

“We expect in a 40-point game we win, but honestly if we would have rebounded better, we would have given up a lot less than 40 points,” Dirigo coach Cody St. Germain said. “They couldn’t shoot the ball. We couldn’t shoot the ball. It was a physical battle. We just didn’t bring it boxing out, and we lost the game on the boards.”

The early going went back and forth, with Dirigo grabbing an 11-10 lead thanks to a 7-0 run. Alex Gorham and Jeremy St. Germain had four points each and Chase Clark drained an open 3-pointer.

The defenses won out in the second frame. Douglass scored all seven points for the Greyhounds, while the Cougars managed just five points to trail by one at the break.

“We love to get up and down the court, and we are not a big team, but we will make a team work,” Burnell said.

Little changed in the third quarter, as Lisbon held a 7-6 scoring edge and a 24-22 advantage through 24 minutes. The key for the Greyhounds was on the offensive boards, with Ring securing three offensive boards and Burnell two. However, Lisbon made just 3-of-17 shots, while Dirigo was 2-of-8.

After turning the ball over 10 times in the first half, the Cougars were cleaner in the second half.

“We talked at halftime about not turning the ball over. We took care of it better, but we couldn’t rebound,” Cody St. Germain said.

The offenses found a rhythm in the fourth quarter. Ring pulled down two more offensive boards and finished for a 26-24 Lisbon lead, but Jeremy St. Germain tied it then set up Lapointe for a trey and a 29-26 Dirigo lead.

Down 30-28, Douglass found space and drained a trey for a 31-30 lead, but Chandler Redmond answered to put the Cougars back into a two-point advantage, 33-31, with 3:53 remaining.

With Gorham trying to take Douglass out of the Lisbon offense, Corey Wiers stepped up for the Greyhounds by draining a trey to give the hosts the lead for good. Ring scored inside, and moments later Douglass hit both ends of a 1-and-1 for a 38-33 lead with 46 seconds left.

“We have talked about getting production from other guys,” said Gentle, who watched Burnell pick up his fifth steal and Douglass make two more free throws for a 40-35 lead.

Down 40-37, Dirigo had one last chance to tie the game, but Redmond’s shot caught the back iron and Burnell pulled down another rebound as the buzzer sounded.

“I wasn’t scoring, so I figured I would do everything else as hard as I could,” said Burnell, who missed all eight of his field goals but pulled down a team-high nine rebounds and dished out three assists.

“Issac did a good job getting after it defensively. He really locked it down for us,” Gentle said. “We need to be successful on both sides of the court. Early in the season, we weren’t defending the entire game. We need to play a solid game all four quarters and we will be in games.”

Dirigo was outrebounded 33-26 and turned the ball over 16 times. Jeremy St. Germain led the Cougars with 10 rebounds, four steals and four assists.

“We have had a tough stretch to start the season, a tough game with Mt. Abram and a game with Monmouth coming up, which we will really need. We will battle and try to get back into it,” Cody St. Germain said.

Lisbon was 15-of-54 from the field and made 4-of-9 at the free-throw line. Ring and Seth Tapley had eight rebounds each, while Douglass made four steals.

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