COLUMBIANA - The Lisbon boys basketball team looked to stay on top, but Crestview had other plans.
The Rebels made two big rallies in the fourth quarter, but the Blue Devils escaped the fourth-quarter rollercoaster with a 50-46 win on Tuesday and remain on top of the Inter-Tri County League upper tier.
"I knew all along it was going to be a dog fight," Lisbon coach Chris Huckshold said. "(The Blue Devils were) coming in on the highest of highs from a week ago."
That dog fight was fierce in the fourth quarter as the Blue Devils (10-1, 6-1) fended off the strong challenge from the Rebels with Josh Liberati scoring 15 points and Austin Rutecki and Avery Andric each getting 12 points.
"I just had to get those shots in," Liberati said. "We had to step it up and do everything we can to keep the lead."
Leading by 10, the Blue Devils saw the Rebels' challenge as three three-pointers from Collin Gilbert, who had a team-high 18 points, closed the gap to three.
"We had a big letdown in the fourth, and they (Crestview) brought the lead down to three," Liberati said. "We had to build that lead back up. We went up by ten and just hung on from there."
The Blue Devils' fight to stay on top was just as prevalent on Tuesday as it has all season as the team continues their goal towards a potential league championship.
"We've been talking about this since last year," Liberati said. "We've been staying positive and waiting for this to happen and now it's happening for us."
"This group of young men are a confident group," Huckshold said. "They feel they can win against anyone, and that's good. That's something you can't teach. That's just how they play."
The Rebels provided a big threat early on as Gilbert's first quarter buzzer-beater tied the game at 11. Then, in the second quarter, after five minutes without a basket on both sides, McDade stormed down and broke the tie with the layup, the only one in the second quarter.
"We did a lot better offensively in the first half," Crestview coach Herman Miller said. "We held them (Lisbon) to 17. We felt like defensively it wasn't the issue."
Miller also noted the performances of Gilbert and Josh McDade, especially in the fourth quarter.
"The fourth quarter just a rollercoaster," Miller said. "Gilbert hit some late shots that kept us hanging around until the end."
McDade had a solid effort for the Rebels with nine points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
The Rebels delivered another roller coaster in the junior varsity game. Trailing by one after rallying from a seven-point deficit, Andy Gorby hit a two-point buzzer-beater to give the Rebels the 50-49 victory.
Elijah McCallum led the Rebels with 24. Bailey McCullough and Zach Shaffer both scored 12 for the Blue Devils.
Both teams play Friday with Lisbon hosting United and Crestview traveling to Southern Local.
The game marked the first win inside Crestview;s gymnasium for Lisbon coach Chris Huckshold.
"I have never won here in Crestview," Huckshold said. "The feeling is just amazing. A win is a win."
Lisbon announced its makeup game against East Palestine for Feb. 21, which will now serve as Senior Night. Crestview's makeup game with Springfield will be part of a boys-girls doubleheader on Feb. 14.
LISBON SCORING: Matt Spencer 3-0-6, Austin Davis 0-0-0, Josh Liberati 4-7-15, Austin Rutecki 3-4-12, Josh Craig 2-1-5, Avery Andric 3-4-12. TEAM TOTALS: 17, 13-24: 50
CRESTVIEW SCORING: Dylan Hart 2-0-4, Aaron Muntean 0-0-0, Evan Beachler 2-0-5, Collin Gilbert 6-3-18, Jesse Best 0-2-2, Josh McDade 4-0-9, Enzo Lucci 0-0-0, Eric Lloyd 4-0-8. TEAM TOTALS: 18, 5-5: 46
Three-point goals: Lisbon 3 (Andric 2, Rutecki), Crestview 5 (Gilbert 3, Beachler, McDade).