CEDAR RAPIDS — It would save a lot of time if everyone just agreed to play the fourth quarter Saturday night, and that Lisbon’s boys’ basketball team would be trailing going into it.
That has been the exact pattern for the Lions this entire postseason. They’ve played three games, been behind going to the fourth of each, yet won them all.
They don’t ask how. Just win and advance, baby.
Lisbon (17-7) is one more win from advancing to the state tournament. It plays a Class 1A substate final against New London (19-3) at Washington, Iowa.
“We had a couple of injuries early that kind of set us back,” Lisbon Coach Bill Zywiec said. “But the kids have kind of bought into what we want to do. We have been unselfish with the ball, moved it well and played better defense. It’s been nothing fancy, just fundamental basketball.”
Lisbon is on a nine-game win streak overall, closing the regular season with six straight Ws. In district play, the Lions have been comeback kings.
Alburnett led a district opener after three quarters, 44-42, but Lisbon won in overtime, 66-60. Lone Tree led after three quarters in the district semifinals, 44-40, but Lisbon rallied for a 61-57 win.
Thursday night in the district finals, the Lions turned a 49-44 deficit after three quarters into a 64-59 victory against Iowa Mennonite.
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The long and short of it for this team has been the fine play of junior forward Bailey Arwine (6-foot-5) and junior point guard Brett Givens (5-6). They are Lisbon’s leading scorers, rebounder (Arwine), assists and steals (Givens) guys.
“The heart of our team,” Zywiec said.
In New London, Lisbon will see a team that starts three sophomores and likes to push the tempo offensively. The recent return of 6-foot-7 starting center Ben Dentlinger makes the Tigers that much more formidable.
Lisbon has been to state once, in 2012, while New London has never qualified.
“They’re a very good team,” Zywiec said. “Their guards really push the ball and look to penetrate. Having their big kid back helps them out. We cannot run with them. We don’t want a track meet.”
In other 1A substates Saturday, top-ranked North Linn (24-0) is a prohibitive favorite against Clayton Ridge (16-8) at Manchester. The Lynx last qualified for the state tournament in 1977, while Clayton Ridge has never qualified.
In Class 2A, eighth-ranked Cascade (21-2) seeks its fourth trip in a row to Des Moines when it plays No. 10 Dike-New Hartford (21-3) in a substate final at Independence. West Branch (18-5) plays Camanche (21-2) at Muscatine in a rematch from the regular season.
Camanche won that game, 78-67. West Branch has never qualified for the boys’ state basketball tournament.
Highland (19-4) has a tall task in its 2A substate final at Oskaloosa in sixth-ranked Pella Christian (19-4). Pella Christian’s only four losses have been to 3A teams.
SATURDAY’S CLASS 4A SUBSTATE SEMIFINALS
Mason City (12-10) vs. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (16-5) at Coe College, 5 p.m.
Sioux City West (12-9) at Sioux City East (19-2), 7 p.m.
SATURDAY’S CLASS 3A DISTRICT FINALS
Crestwood (9-12) at Forest City (18-4), 4 p.m.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton (13-9) at Spirit Lake (17-5), 5 p.m.
SATURDAY’S CLASS 2A SUBSTATE FINALS
(All games at 7 p.m.)
Cascade (21-2) vs. Dike-New Hartford (21-3) at Independence
Highland (19-4) vs. Pella Christian (19-4) at Oskaloosa
West Branch (18-5) vs. Camanche (21-2) at Muscatine
Carroll Kuemper (21-2) vs. Alta/Aurelia (21-1) at Denison
East Marshall (17-5) vs. South Hamilton (21-2) at Nevada
Garner-Hayfield-Ventura (22-1) vs. Osage (22-1) at Clear Lake
Sioux Center (15-8) vs. Western Christian (20-2) at Orange City
Van Meter (22-1) vs. Avo-Ha/Shelby-Tennant/Walnut (21-2) at Atlantic)
SATURDAY’S CLASS 1A SUBSTATE FINALS
Clayton Ridge (16-8) vs. North Linn (24-0) at Manchester
Lisbon (17-7) vs. New London (19-3) at Washington, Iowa
Ar-We-Va (24-0) vs. Maple Valley/Anthon-Oto (17-7) at Harlan)
Grand View Christian (23-1) vs. Southwest Valley (14-10) at Afton
Lynnville-Sully (23-1) vs. Martensdale-St. Mary’s (18-6) at Knoxville
Wapsie Valley (18-7) vs. Gladbrook-Reinbeck (23-2) at Cedar Falls
West Hancock (18-6) vs. West Fork (19-5) at Clarion
SATURDAY’S CLASS 1A DISTRICT FINALS
Boyden-Hull (16-7) vs. George-Little Rock (13-10) at Sheldon
Remsen St. Mary’s (22-0) vs. LeMars Gehlen (17-6) at Cherokee
MONDAY’S CLASS 3A SUBSTATE FINALS
Cedar Rapids Xaveir (12-11) vs. Dubuque Wahlert (7-15) at U.S. Cellular Center (Cedar Rapids), 6:30 p.m.
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West Delaware (23-0) vs. Center Point-Urbana (17-6) at U.S. Cellular Center (Cedar Rapids), 8 p.m.
Atlantic (18-5) vs. Glenwood (18-5) at Harlan, 7 p.m.
Boone (17-5) vs. Dallas Center-Grimes (14-9) at Johnston, 7 p.m.
Grinnell (13-11) vs. Pella (21-2) at Southeast Polk, 7 p.m.
Mount Pleasant (21-2) vs. Oskaloosa (15-8) at Fairfield, 7 p.m.
Sioux City Heelan (17-6) vs. Sergeant Bluff-Luton or Spirit Lake at Tyson Events Center (Sioux City), 7 p.m.
Waverly-Shell Rock (21-1) vs. Forest City or Crestwood at Parkersburg, 7 p.m.