Lisbon senior guard Giana Russo (12) goes to the basket between Wells defenders Meredith Bogue (13) and Mallory Aromando (4) in Saturday’s Class D South quarterfinal in Portland. One season after suffering a knee injury that forced her to miss the entire 2018/19 basketball season, Russo helped Lisbon to an 11-win season. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

PORTLAND — It was a tall order, quite literally, for sixth-seeded Lisbon on Saturday at the Portland Expo.

Facing a fast, athletic and tall Wells squad, the Greyhounds tried their best to slow the game down, box out and battle the Warriors in a girls Class B South high school quarterfinal at the Portland Expo.

After a 6-0 start, Lisbon went cold and Wells heated up, scoring 19 of the game’s next 21 points to take control en route to a 52-26 victory.

Wells improved to 13-6 and will take on No. 7 Maranacook — which upset second-seeded Oak Hill, 43-39, in overtime in Saturday’s second game — in the semifinals. The Greyhounds finished their season with an 11-8 record.

For most of the opening quarter, Lisbon performed like it had throughout the season, over-achieving and battling the Warriors tooth and nail, scrapping on the floor for loose balls and going rebound for rebound. Seniors Charlee Cox and Giana Russo each sank a pair of free throws and Destiney Deschaines leaned on her defender and scored from underneath the basket for a six-point lead.

Lisbon’s Destiney Deschaines tries to get a shot off with Wells’ Meredith Bogue (13) defending in the first half of Saturday’s girls Class B South quarterfinal at the Portland Expo. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

“I couldn’t have asked for a better start. I thought we did a good job stopping their transition,” said Lisbon coach Doug Sautter.

Wells found its game from there, scoring the next six points to tie the game, and after the Greyhounds grabbed an 8-6 lead on two more free throws from Russo, the Warriors closed the opening frame with an 8-0 run for a 14-8 advantage. Franny Ramsdell had 10 first-quarter points to pace Wells.

“You never know in that first tournament game,” said Wells coach Don Abbott. “We didn’t take a timeout and just kept playing. We have a team that is built on athleticism. Eventually once we settled in defensively, we got some stops and got into our transition game.”

Wells opened the second quarter with the first three points for a 19-8 lead, and the advantage remained at double digits the rest of the way. Fouls were a problem for the Greyhounds as both Cox and Deschaines picked up their third infraction early in the second quarter. With Lisbon carrying just nine players, Cox and Deschaines had to play careful from there to avoid earning a fourth.

“We don’t go very deep, so we knew that we needed to keep it close,” Sautter said. “We gave up some turnovers for layups and stopped taking care of the ball.”

“Wells is super quick and really tall,” Russo added. “They box out and play a lot of girls. We came out strong, but then we gave them second chances on the board.”

A bit of life

Lisbon trailed 27-11 late in the first half, but used a 4-0 run to head to the intermission down by 12. The Greyhounds needed a good start to the second half to have a chance, but Ramsdell drove inside for two points then stepped outside for a 3-pointer for a 32-15 lead.

“We went on a 5-0 run to start the second half. If (Lisbon) would have gone on a 5-0 run, then it is a single-digit game and it is a totally different feel,” said Abbott. “We emphasized coming out strong those first four minutes of the second half.”

Wells forward Grace Ramsdell (33) looks to the basket between Lisbon defenders Giana Russo (12) and Maria Levesque during Saturday’s Class B South girls basketball quarterfinal at the Portland Expo. Ramsdell had a double-double as the Warriors doubled-up the Greyhounds, 52-26. (Bob Conn / The Times Record) Bob Conn / Times Record

“We left our legs in the locker room at the start of the second half,” said Sautter.

Lisbon tried to stay close as Maria Levesque came off the bench and nailed a pair of treys off Russo setups, and Cox went inside for two tough points. But, Ramsdell matched her first-quarter total with another 10 points, finishing with a game-high 24 points in the win.

For Sautter, there was little reason to feel disappointed. After winning just three games last year in Julie Petrie’s last year at the helm while playing without Russo, who had injured her knee late in the 2018 soccer season and missed the entire 2018/19 basketball campaign, 11 wins this year was a big turnaround.

“From day one, they worked so hard,” Sautter said. “The work ethic and the learning was there and they got better and better. I didn’t have expectations, but everything I thought of they surpassed. We battled like we have all season, and the heart of this team, it doesn’t matter if they’re up 30 or down 30, they will just keep on battling. Proud doesn’t cut it about how I feel about this group.”

“It was one of the best seasons,” said Russo, who matched Levesque with six points to top the Greyhounds. “I am so proud of all of us and proud of myself for coming back and being able to do this.”

Grace Ramsdell had a double-double for Wells (11 points, 14 rebounds, three blocked shots), while Mallory Aromando added six points.

Cox picked up five points and five rebounds in the loss, with Deschaines pulling down a team-high 10 rebounds. Russo dished out three assists.


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