MANSFIELD — Logan Niswander and his Lucas teammates snapped an eight-year skid Friday at the Franciscan Activity Center.
Niswander scored a team-high 14 points and the Cubs remained unbeaten in Mid-Buckeye Conference play with a 47-38 win over St. Peter’s.
Lucas (6-3, 4-0) had lost 14 straight to the Spartans (5-4, 3-1). The last win for the Cubs in the series came on Jan. 25, 2011.
St. Peter’s beat the Cubs three times last season — twice in the regular season and again in the district semifinals — en route to its third straight regional final appearance. The Spartans were hit hard by graduation, however, losing All-Ohioans Jared Jakubick and Elijah Cobb.
“It’s a big win. They’ve been the best team in the conference for (a long time),” said Niswander, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the first half. “Last year in the district semis, we came close to beating them.
“We knew since they lost Jared and Elijah that we could come out here and beat them. They lost two All-Ohioans.”
It looked like the Spartans would continue their mastery over the Cubs in the early going Friday night. St. Peter’s raced out to a 7-0 lead and built a 15-5 advantage late in the first quarter before Lucas scored the final four points of the period. Still, the Spartans led 15-9 heading into the second.
“I emphasized the first quarter was going to be extremely important and we came out and did exactly the opposite of what I wanted,” Lucas coach Taylor Iceman said. “They had 15 points at the end of the first and we held them to 38. That’s a testament to our kids.”
The Cubs took their first lead at 18-17 on a Riley Gossom 3-pointer midway through the second quarter. Lucas outscored St. Peter’s 15-6 in the period and led 27-21 at the half.
The momentum was short-lived as St. Peter’s opened the third with a 9-2 run and took a 30-29 lead on a Shawn Perkins-Harris jumper with 4:10 to play in the third. The Cubs would outscore the Spartans 18-8 the rest of the way.
“Lucas picked up the intensity when they got down,” St. Peter’s coach Joe Jakubick said. “When teams attack us, we have a tendency to not attack back. They were a little more aggressive and we didn’t respond to it.”
Caleb Stewart paced the Spartans with 18 points. Luke Henrich added eight.
Gossom backed Niswander with 10 points. Ethan Sauder added eight and Jeb Grover chipped in with seven.
“That’s a big one there. St. Peter’s had that mental edge over everyone in our league,” Iceman said. “This is a huge step in the right direction and we needed it.
“We hadn’t been playing well but I told everybody if there is a game to get right, it’s tonight. We still had our issues but we’ll take the win.”