MANSFIELD -- Due to an extended run in the state football playoffs this season, Lucas got off to an expected slow start to basketball.
For about a half, that is.
But the Cubs roared in the third quarter of their delayed season-opener at Mansfield Christian on Friday night, outscoring the Flames 31-2 en route to a 77-23 victory in a Mid-Buckeye Conference game.
"We actually started out a little slow," said fourth-year coach Taylor Iceman, who welcomes back four starters from among six lettermen off last year's 15-9 district tournament team. "We only had eight healthy bodies tonight, so I was a little leery about getting out and playing our pressure defense that we're going to do a lot of this season.
"Then the kids kind of took it upon themselves and they just got up and played," Iceman said. "I always preach to the kids you can only play one way. We turned it on and got it going."
NEAR SCHOOL RECORD: Junior Logan Niswander, who started at quarterback and defensive back for the 10-3 Cubs this fall, looked like he's been on the court for months, instead of two weeks. The 6-2 forward scored a career-high 36 points, including four triples, finishing just four points shy of the Lucas single-game scoring record.
Niswander scored 25 of his points in the blistering third period, including all four of his triples, as the the Cubs pressured the Flames (0-3) into 13 turnovers during the quarter.
"We knew we would come out slow," said Niswander, a second-team All-Northwest Ohio basketball player last year when he averaged 16 points per game. "We only had two weeks of practice and other teams were playing games, but we did all right I guess."
Niswander said he didn't feel in pre-game like it was going to be a hot night.
"It was actually just the opposite," he said. "I didn't make one shot in warm-ups. I was kind of upset. Once I started shooting and a couple went in, it just came, I guess."
Sophomore guard Riley Gossom added 16 and sophomore guard Ethan Sauder added 13 for the Cubs.
Iceman said his team's defense is its best offense.
"We're going to create turnovers and go score layups. Logan is a gifted athlete. He is a nightmare to match up with because he can go inside and then obviously he can hit the three. Once he got going, he is a streaky shooter and he hit his shots," Iceman said.
Iceman is in his fourth season at Lucas, having rebuilt his alma mater's program and is now poised to post the first back-to-back season winning records in 17 years.
"We were down when I got here. I told everyone when I got here we are going to have to outwork everybody to be in the game. Now, we have quite a bit of talent, so if we outwork everybody, the potential is endless," Iceman said.
REBUILDING FLAMES: Mansfield Christian and first-year coach Adam Parrott face challenges with little experience back from last year's 13-9 team. The Flames dropped their first two games to Colonel Crawford (71-22) and Toledo Woodward (67-45).
Junior Ethan Berry led MCS with eight points. Senior JC Mangan and sophomore Jace Craner each had four.
"We are a very young team," Parrott said. "We only have one player who actually had varsity minutes last year. We are just learning each and every day practice. We are trying each day to find a little positive thing we can build off of.
"My main goal right now is to keep (players) positive, regardless of what the score is. We are just trying to keep their heads in it so we can progress and grow.
"(Lucas) is a good, well-rounded team. Obviously, they shot the ball well. They were aggressive, which is something we need to learn. We need to be the team that strikes first and now allow teams to come at us. We backpedal too much. That's just going to take some learning.
"We are growing and I am glad to be here and I am glad to be a part of this school," Parrott said.
UP NEXT: Both teams play again tonight in non-league games. Lucas hosts Crestview and Mansfield Christian is at Hillsdale.