By Kurt Ritzman
Assistant Sports Editor
Prince of Peace found itself in a 16-point hole Friday night with less than two minutes to play in the third quarter against Lisbon in Big East Conference boys basketball.
The Irish outscored Lisbon 18-4 over the final 9 1⁄2 minutes but fell just short, 54-52.
“That was as disappointing of a first half as I’ve seen in a long time,” Prince of Peace coach Gerry Murphy said. “We didn’t start playing until the middle of the third. Then we played how we’re capable of playing, the way we should have been playing all year.”
Lisbon (3-16, 2-14 Big East) went ahead 50-34 on a jumper by Ryan Light. After that, Prince of Peace held Lisbon scoreless for the next 6:09 and without a field goal for 8:49.
“We just played defense like we should be doing,” Murphy said. “We put pressure on them. We defended every possession that last quarter. That’s how we’re supposed to play. For a quarter, we played Irish basketball.
“That’s what we’ve been asking and saying all year, ‘Why can’t we do that for four quarters?’ I told them until we do that for four quarters, we’re going to have the same result. It’s kind of the same song on a different day.”
On offense, AJ Williams and Quin Schnier made back-to-back baskets to close out the third quarter.
Prince of Peace (2-17, 1-14) scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter — five by Nick Roth and two each from Schnier and Lucas Laufenberg — to cut the deficit to 50-47.
Brock Givens finally got Lisbon on the board on its next possession by making a free throw. After the teams traded three empty possessions, Williams drained a jumper to pull Prince of Peace to within two points.
“I thought AJ really stepped up and certainly had his best game of the year,” Murphy said.
The Irish had chances to tie on their next two possessions but missed a field goal and then a pair of free throws.
That’s when Givens came through for the Lions. He put Lisbon ahead 53-49 with just over a minute to play by making a jumper and then made a free throw on Lisbon’s next possession for a 54-49 lead. Givens, who scored nine points, scored all of his team’s fourth-quarter points.
Prince of Peace wasn’t out of it yet. With 10 seconds to play, Laufenberg made a layup, was fouled and converted on the free throw for a three-point play.
The Irish quickly fouled and Lisbon missed the front end of a one-and-the-bonus free-throw attempt. Roth grabbed the rebound, one of his game-high 19, for the Irish who called timeout with 3.2 seconds left.
Prince of Peace got the ball into the paint, but Lisbon stripped the ball before a shot could go up.
LISBON 54, PRINCE OF PEACE 52
LISBON (3-16, 2-14) — Brock Givens 3 2-4 9, Jonathan Noll 0 2-2 2, Ryan Light 3 0-1 6, Tyler Svatosch 4 1-4 10, Logan Rickard 4 1-3 11, Sean Reilly 1 0-1 2, Austin Springsteen 4 3-5 12, Jack Adolphson 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 9-20 54.
PRINCE OF PEACE (2-17, 1-14) — Quinn Schnier 6 3-8 15, Lucas Laufenberg 4 2-3 10, Warren Lewis 3 0-0 6, Caleb Kitteringham 0 2-6 2, AJ Williams 3 0-0 6, Jacob Jankowski 0 0-0 0, Devin Bly 0 0-0 0, Michael Peters 0 0-0 0, Trent Hessing 0 0-0 0, Nic Roth 5 2-5 13. Totals 21 9-22 52.
Lisbon 11 20 19 4 — 54
Prince of Peace 14 12 12 14 — 52
3-point goals — Lisbon 5 (Rickard 2, Svatosch, Springsteen, Givens); Prince of Peace 1 (Roth).
Total fouls — Lisbon 18; Prince of Peace 17. Fouled out — Lewis.