LISBON -Lisbon senior C.J. Dawson wanted to make the winter homecoming game against United special on Friday night.
Having never hit a three-pointer in his high school career, the big man took a crack at it with 5:20 left in the third and drew a significant cheer when it fell in the Devils' 63-28 win.
"My reaction was to shoot just like any other shot," Dawson said.
He claimed that he doesn't really practice shooting threes, but his coach knows differently.
"He fibbed a bit," Lisbon coach Huckshold said. "He does shoot them a lot in practice. He talked a bit on Thursday and said that 'If I get an open look, I'm going to put it up.' I said 'By all means.'"
He followed that up with another three attempt shortly thereafter, but that one did not fall.
"I was getting a little greedy there," Dawson said. "The first one went, so I thought I would take the second one."
Aside from showing off his three-point shooting prowess, Dawson also had a pretty strong game on the boards with a career-high 13 points and 18 rebounds to go along with it.
Huckshold said Dawson has been working hard to get into position to make a bigger impact in games.
"He's one of the hardest workers we have," Huckshold said. "He's always putting extra time in the weight room. Most people wouldn't know it, but he's put on around 15 to 20 pounds of muscle this season. One of his preseason goals was that he didn't want to be pushed around. He's also a smarter basketball player. He's getting into position. He's getting offensive rebounds and putbacks."
The win saw the Devils' record rise to 8-8 and 7-6 in the Inter-Tri County League upper tier.
Lisbon had some difficulty getting things going in the first half. United (1-16, 1-12) stayed within one to two points for most of the first 16 minutes, but an 8-2 run to end the second quarter put the Eagles, who are averaging 33.9 points per game, out of the running.
"We came out flat in the third quarter, plain and simple," United coach Matt Mowery said. "It's been a habit of ours this whole season. We're a young team and we know that's going to happen, but we've talked about it in practice and at halftime. We know the other teams are going to come out like rabid dogs. You have to be ready for it."
Lisbon outscored United 17-4 in the third quarter and 25-10 in the fourth to make it a blowout. United had been finding ways to score in the 50s and 60s in recent games.
"We've improved throughout the year," Mowery said. "But tonight the free throws didn't go in. We were 12 of 26 from the line. Those are easy points we're missing and we were hitting those -layups and free throws - in the first half against Lisbon."
Brandon Miller led the Eagles with eight points. All of those came in the first quarter.
Senior Zack Rovnak led the Blue Devils in scoring with 14 points. He also had eight assists and four steals. Jake Borg had eight points and 14 rebounds.
Lisbon closes the slate with a home game against ITCL lower tier champions Jackson-Milton on Tuesday as well as contests with Mineral Ridge, Sebring and Heartland Christian.
"We want to get above .500 because we haven't been there in a long time," Huckshold said.
The last winning season for Lisbon's boys basketball was 2004-05.
"It has also been a while for this group of seniors," Huckshold said. "They have a shot. At the beginning of the year, I thought we could be anywhere from 8-12 to 12-8. We're right in that range."
United won the jayvee game 44-35. Cody Dickens led the winners with 10 points. Corey Brammer had 13 points for Lisbon.
United will be at state-ranked Malvern on Tuesday.
Lisbon senior basketball player Cami Jackson was named homecoming queen before the varsity game.
UNITED: 8 -6- 4-10-28
UNITED SCORING: Brandon Miller 4-0-8, Garrett Beech 1-0-2, Brett Albright 1-2-4, Cody Dickens 0-2-2, Caleb Conser 2-3-7, Braden Davison 0-3-, Kyle Widlicka 0-2-2, Doug Covert 0-0-0, Frank Mitchell 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 8, 12-26: 28.
LISBON SCORING: Zack Rovnak 4-6-14, Drew Sweeney 1-1-3, Matt Spencer 3-1-8, Ben Spencer 1-0-2, Jake Borg 2-4-8, Zac Barnes 3-0-8, C.J. Dawson 5-2-13, Mike Evans 1-0-3, Corey Brammer 1-1-3, Nathan Borg 0-1-1, Zac Allen 0-0-0, Bryar Scarabino 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 21, 16-20: 63.
Three-point goals: Lisbon 5 (Barnes 2, M. Spencer, C.J. Dawson, Mike Evans).