“I could not be more proud of my athletes and partners. They are outstanding,” Hampden coach Andrea Lee said. “The community is so supportive. It’s just a blessing.”
The South champion Greyhounds (12-1) were hoping for a different outcome on their home floor, but had trouble getting going offensively. That tough Broncos (13-0) defense held Lisbon to just one point through the first seven-plus minutes of the first quarter, until Jake Patenaude hit a long 2-pointer with two seconds left in the period to draw the Greyhounds within 4-3.
“That was a buzzer-beater. That led into the second quarter,” Lisbon student coach Jonah Sautter said. “That was definitely momentum.”
Amanda Mason converted a put-back on the opening possession to give Lisbon its first lead, at 5-4, then made a layup just over a minute later after Tanton Mattson grabbed three straight rebounds.
The North champion Broncos kept pace with Lisbon via the free-throw line. Tyler Hewey and Isaiah Palmer combined to make 3 of 4 foul shots sandwiched around a Patenaude baseline jumper, then Hewey made a layup off a Dakota Clement steal to tie game up at 9-9.
Brock Vachon made a layup after the midway point of the second quarter, giving the Greyhounds their last lead.
Palmer and Kenny Brewer-Frazee took over from there for Hampden, scoring the final 10 points of the period for the Broncos to make it 19-13 at halftime. Ryley Austin made a layup with 10 seconds left to stop the Lisbon drought.
The Hampden defense showed up again to aid that Lisbon lull. Aggressive ball pressure and cleaning up the boards added to cold shooting.
“That was one of those things where it’s just one of those nights,” Sautter said about missing shots. “I talked to them at halftime, and I said ‘we just got to keep fighting, we got to keep shooting. Just because you miss shots, that doesn’t mean you stop shooting.’ They kept shooting. Some of the easier shots didn’t fall.”
“We worked really hard at defense for sure,” Lee said. “Rebound, rebound, rebound. There was a lot of practices on that.”
Mason said her team got a “little bit” frustrated from all the shots not falling, but pushed through the frustration.
A Mason layup midway through the fourth quarter put the Greyhounds on a 4-0 run to start the period and cut the deficit to 32-25. But the Broncos held Lisbon to just one more basket the rest of the way.
“They were aggressive, and they were quicker than us in some aspects,” Sautter said. “They outfought us in some of those times of the game.”
Mason had a spot-on analysis of the Broncos, saying they were good at both offense and defense. The Hampden offense starred in the third. Hewey, Brewer-Frazee and Palmer combined for 13 points. Brewer-Frazee had five of those, with a corner 3-pointer and a long floater with 20 seconds left in the period.
“(Brewer-Frazee) is an excellent player. He hits the shots from the outside,” Lisbon assistant coach Jody Benson said. “We kind of laid back on it for a while, and was hoping he might not get them, but then he got on fire and hit those 3s and we just couldn’t defend against that.”
Palmer scored a game-high 15 points, while Brewer-Frazee added 13 and Hewey eight for Hampden. Clement played tough pressure defense and was a beast on the boards as a partner for the Broncos.
Mason led a balanced scoring attack for Lisbon, with eight points. Patenaude had seven, partner Tyler Halls added four points to go along with double-digit rebounds, and Vachon, partner Austin, Dawson Martel and Wesley Lucas scored two apiece. Halls, Austin Fournier and Mattson provided valuable rebounding and passing throughout for the Greyhounds.
Lisbon’s brand-new gym held a standing-room only crowd that was raucous from start to finish. The cheers began before the opening tip, when Hampden’s Zach Ewing sang the national anthem. He had some support, from Alex Ross, then Martin, then the whole crowd — which was encouraged to sing along by Ross.