GREENFORD-Shooters know when they've entered "the zone," that special feeling when the basket seems twice as large. Avery Andric had one of those nights on Friday.
Andric hit six three-pointers in the first half and tied his own school record with seven as the Blue Devils plowed through South Range, 65-44.
"I hit a couple early and started to get excited," Andric said. "I fed off that emotion and started to get more confident. It felt really good. I had a couple of off nights the last couple of games and it felt good to bounce back."
Andric finished with a season-high 27 points as the Blue Devils improve to 14-2 overall and 9-2 in the Inter-Tri County League upper tier, staying one game behind first-place Springfield. South Range drops to 2-14 and 2-10 ITCL.
"Avery had a very special night," Lisbon coach Chris Huckshold said. "It seemed like it didn't matter where he put the ball up, it was going in."
"We never found (Avery) Andric all night," South Range coach John Cullen said. "He had his way, every screen Lisbon did to get him open worked."
Andric's night was part of a big team effort. Lisbon suffered a 58-49 upset loss to the Raiders in December and took the court in front of a big homecoming crowd at South Range with a noticeable kick in their step. Once the game started, the Blue Devils wasted no time imposing their will, smothering the Raiders on their way to a 23-2 lead after the first quarter.
"We thought we owed them after the first game," Andric said. "It was a big motivating factor. We were really excited to come out and play tonight."
Sensing that Lisbon would come out hard, Cullen scripted the first five Raider possessions but it didn't matter as the Blue Devils were flying all over the court, causing the gameplan to disintegrate. South Range did not get on the board until 1:16 remained in the first quarter.
"We were trying to have a really neat, organized start but we didn't carry over one thing from practice," Cullen said. "I put that on us coaches. We did not impart enough urgency on the kids. Lisbon had that urgency."
The Blue Devils set the tone on offense with unselfish team play. For most of the night the ball was whipping around the court until it found an open man. Josh Liberati finished with 13 assists, while Austin Rutecki drained four threes to finish with 19 points. Josh Craig had 10 rebounds.
"We were trying to find the open man all night," Andric said. "It's a lot of fun when the ball gets moving like tonight."
South Range regrouped at halftime and outscored the Blue Devils 31-28 in the second half. Garrett Anderson led the Raiders with 12 points.
South Range won they jayvee game 30-23. Dylan Rutledge had 16 points for the Raiders. Jared White had 8 points for Lisbon.
This is the second time Andric has tied the school record. He also hit seven threes almost a year ago to the day, on Feb. 1, 2013 against East Palestine. Zach Williams and Zac Barnes also have a share of the record. Andric missed a few attempts in the fourth quarter that would have given him the record."
"I had no idea how many I had," Andric said. "I didn't know I was one away from the record."
The South Range frontcourt was held to zero buckets and zero rebounds in the first half.
"Lisbon came out with as good a man-to-man defense as we've seen this year," Cullen said. "They pressured the guards a lot more than we saw on tape, but were able to recover in time. They took us out of everything we wanted to do"
It was South Range's homecoming. Matti Dunham was crowned homecoming queen before the game. Tyler Rothbauer was selected as the king.
SOUTH RANGE: 2-11-15-16-44
LISBON SCORING: Josh Liberati 2-0-4, Matt Spencer 0-1-1, Austin Rutecki 7-1-19, Avery Andric 10-0-27, Josh Craig 3-4-10, Austin Davis 1-0-2, Trevor Reese 1-0-2, Jared White 0-0-0, Jannik Schmidt 0-0-0, Jake Liberati 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 24, 6-10: 65.
SOUTH RANGE SCORING: Nick Wiery 0-0-0, Mark Vannetti 4-0-9, Greh Dunham 2-4-9, Jonah Wilson 0-0-0, Garrett Anderson 4-4-12, Andrew Cullar 0-0-0, Turner Curry 1-2-4, Rob Matos 3-0-8, Cole Berry 0-0-0, Pierce Baird 0-0-0, Dylan Rutledge 0-2-2. TEAM TOTALS: 14, 12-20: 44.
Three-point goals: 11 (Andric 7, Rutecki 4), South Range 4 (Matos 2, Vannetti, Dunham).