Lisbon’s DJ Douglass drives past Wells’ Caleb Corey during Thursday night’s Class B South playoff game at Wells. (Journal Tribune photo by Pat McDonald)

WELLS — Every basketball coach in America is looking for their team to get off to a fast start, and that’s exactly what the Wells Warriors gave head coach Troy Brown on Thursday night.

The No. 8 Warriors scored the first 15 points of their Class B South boys’ basketball preliminary round game on their way to a 60-44 win over No. 9 Lisbon.

“Obviously, it was really big when you win by the same amount that you got up by,” Brown said. “The big thing for us was to see our kids come out and hit a few shots early. We knew they were going to come out in some type of zone.”

Matt Sherburne and Gavyn Leighton each hit a pair of 3-pointers and Matt Ouellette added another score from long distance as Wells opened up a 15-0 lead with 4:35 left in the first.

“You have to give them credit, they knocked down shots. I’ve seen them play twice and they didn’t hit 3s the way they hit them tonight,” Lisbon coach Jake Gentle said. “We were thinking our zone was going to be our best bet, but you have to give them credit, they hit 3s on us and it was really tough for us.”

The visiting Greyhounds were not going down without a fight as they went on a 10-5 run to end the first to cut the lead to 20-10.

Lisbon was able to cut the lead to 28-21 late in the second quarter when DJ Douglass connected from long distance, but Wells answered with six straight points to push the lead back to 13.

Wells closed the second quarter on a 26-5 run — capped by a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Covy Dufort — to make it a 44-26 lead at the break.

Lisbon outscored Wells 9-7 in the third, but the Greyhounds never really got back in striking distance late. The Warriors were able to play even ball with Lisbon over the final quarter and held on for the victory.

“I’m proud that my guys didn’t give up. We battled back, and outside of that quick run by them, it was a pretty contested game throughout the way,” Gentle said.

Senior Tyler Bridge led the way for Wells, putting up 17 points in his final home game.

“That was awesome. We knew we had to take care of business here to get to the next game, so it was important to get out to a good start,” Bridge said.

The 6-foot-3 senior took advantage of the zone — especially when his teammates started knocking down those outside shots.

“Especially (playing against) the zone, it pulls out the defender, and then once I get going in the middle it makes their shots back open again,” Bridge said of the inside-out play.

Brown thought his squad could have taken advantage of Bridge more often on the inside.

“I felt like we needed to look into Tyler more. I think he could have had 25 tonight. I just thought we missed him two or three times on ball reversal when he’s coming across the lane. I don’t know why, because we preach it every day in practice because he’s such a weapon. He’s got great hands and he’s got nice touch,” Brown said.

The Warriors, who also got 11 points apiece from Sherburne and Leighton, will now face No. 1 Mountain Valley on Saturday at the Portland Expo.

“I’ve watched a ton (of film). They’re on YouTube, so I’ve watched a ton and every time I watch them I think they’re better than they were the last time,” Brown said.

Mountain Valley may be the top seed, but the Warriors are the two-time defending regional champs and will be looking to use their experience on Saturday.

“I’ve got three players who have been there before. I think you take kids like Bridge, (Dylan) Whitney and Sherburne, when they get up there on Saturday they’re not going to be nervous. They have been there now two years in a row, and I hope it proves well for us,” Brown said.

“I think especially having those deep (playoff) runs and those long seasons that we’re used to it at this point. It definitely helps,” Bridge said.

Douglass finished with a game-high 22 points and Corey Wiers added 11 to lead Lisbon.

The Greyhounds end the year with a 10-9 record and will look to build on this season.

“It’s tough to see the seniors go. They put a lot of heart and soul into it for four years, but I think they’re proud of the way they ended up the season. We’ve just got to take tonight for what it is and then try to build off it for next year,” Gentle said.


Lisbon senior Seth Tapley puts up a shot over Wells’ Matt Ouellette (15) and Nate Chandler (11) during Thursday’s Class B South preliminary round game at Wells. (Journal Tribune photo by Pat McDonald)

Lisbon’s Neil LaRochelle goes up for a shot during Thursday’s Class B South playoff game against Wells. (Journal Tribune photo by Pat McDonald)

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