LISBON - Crestview prevailed in Thursday night's Inter-Tri County League upper tier battle with Lisbon with a 50-47 win as the two teams gear up for post-season play.
As the regular season winds down, the Rebels (16-6, 11-3) finish the league slate in second place, three games behind United. Lisbon (12-9) remains buried in the ITCL standings, but stood toe-to-toe with the third-seed in the South Range Division IV sectional.
"It was a good win but I know we can play better," said senior Ashley Harrison. "We all stay together and keep our heads up. We're all like family on the team and it really helps."
Harrison led all scorers with 20 points on the night, including a pair of three-pointers in the first half. She also doled out four assists.
"I love the outside game, but I would rather get in there and drive and take it to the basket," Harrison said. "I get excited when I make a three, but I don't show a lot of emotion. It does help a lot on defense though, it gets me going and gets the whole team going."
Fellow senior Morgan Newbauer joined Harrison in double figures by recording a double-double, netting 13 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
Pam Pierce paced the Blue Devils with a double-double of her own with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
"We played really well, the girls had some miscues here and there and we got down eight, Lisbon head coach Jason Thompson said. "But we played a very good third quarter and got back into it, and then tied it, but we just didn't have enough to get over the hump."
Crestview jumped out to an early lead but the Blue Devils never let them get too far away. After battling to take a two-point lead early in the second, the Rebels answered and took an eight point lead heading into the half.
"Lisbon, I give them a whole lot of credit. they came prepared to play. We never seemed like we could break away from them," Crestview head coach Rick Gates. "We would get a six or eight point lead but they just fought their way back. It was just a good ITCL road win for us to come out of here on top."
With a 6-0 run to start the second half, Lisbon appeared to find an answer to the pressure that Crestview was putting on the Blue Devils.
Katy Crismon netted 12 points, seven of which coming in the second half as she helped turn a halftime deficit into a tie ballgame as the fourth quarter opened.
"I talked with the girls at halftime about taking care of the basketball," Thompson said. "We wanted to make sure our passes were crisp and we were where we needed to be."
The Rebels' familiarity with close games allowed them to weather Lisbon's surge and regain form in the fourth quarter; a telling sign that coach Gates is pleased to see moving forward.
"I really feel that we've had several hard-fought close games like this," Gates said. "Down the stretch, just the experience of having the ball when we're up two points, it makes you play hard and you only have much time to slack."
For the Rebels to make a sustained tournament run, Harrison said the key lies in cleaning up things on the defensive end and limiting turnovers. Harrison also said she has some tidying up of her own game to do as well.
"My passing needs to get a little bit better," Harrison said. "My defense could probably be improved a little bit, too."
"We really just tried to focus on some areas, offensively and defensively, that we're wanting to get better at in order to make a run in this tournament," Gates said. "We ended up with a third seed in this tournament. We just have to keep improving here in this next week before we start that tournament and make a run that way."
Despite suffering a close loss, there were positives to take from the game for Thompson and his team as they move forward and start the second season.
"Our tournament is very wide open, Lowellville and Columbiana are very good and you've got Crestview who's the three seed," Thompson said. "We just talked to the girls and said, 'You know what? That's your three seed in the tournament and we just took them to the wire.' Anything can happen while you're playing well and right now we are."
Crestview won the jayvee game 34-31. Bri Cope had 14 points to lead the Rebels while Tristian Huff added nine points. Danyail Hayko netted 12 points for Lisbon.
CRESTVIEW: 11-14-7-18 - 50
LISBON: 10-7-15-15 -47
CRESTVIEW SCORING: Bri Cope 1-0-2, Ashley Harrison 7-4-20, Morgan Newbauer 4-5-13, Emilee Chlebus 1-1-3, Savannah Elwonger 2-0-4, Anna Hardenbrook 3-0-6, Alexis Marnejon 1-0-2. TOTALS: 19, 10-18: 50.
LISBON SCORING: Tiffany Ketchum 2-3-7, Sarah Boyd 3-0-8, Katy Crismon 3-6-12, Jenna dickson 0-1-1, Pam Pierce 6-1-13, Taylor Siefke 2-2-6. TOTALS: 16, 13-17: 47.
Three-pointers: Crestview 2 (Harrison), Lisbon 2 (Boyd).