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Second half charge, Powell's 40 points lead Irish past Lisbon

Feb. 5—CLINTON — Historically the Prince of Peace Irish and the Lisbon Lions have gone back and forth in Tri-Rivers East Conference play and they battled things out once again in a close matchup on Monday night.

These two teams met earlier in the year and it was Lisbon who came out on top 75-65. However, that was not the case this time around as the Irish used a big second half to split the regular season series.

Things did not look right offensively for the Irish in the first quarter. Shots were not falling for Prince of Peace and Lisbon was clicking on both sides of the ball with the Lions taking an 18-9 lead.

That lead grew to as many as 12 points but Hakeal Powell was able to bring the Irish within eight, down 30-22 at the break. Powell had 14 points in the first half.

Out of halftime it was senior Jhikeith McGraw who sparked the Irish offensively. He was taking the ball to the basket and finishing tough looks to make it a five point game, 34-29.

"I told him [McGraw] half way through the second quarter 'You've only got a few games left. You have to play as hard as you can every moment you're out there.' From that moment on I thought he played great," Prince of Peace head coach Gerry Murphy said.

Every move the Irish were making the Lions were also answering, keeping that lead around five points. The Irish's steady attack wore down the Lions late and they trailed by just three points, 45-42 heading into the final quarter of play.

"At the start of the second half we were not on Grayson Wollum and Daylin Schaefer but midway through the third we put our guards on them to help keep up," Murphy said.

It did not take long for the Irish to knot this thing up as Powell laced the nylon with a 3-pointer to make it a 45-45 game.

Once again every time the Irish went up by few points the Lions followed right back with a little run of their own to keep the game tied.

That stayed true up until Powell's late surge, including tough layup and a long 3-pointer gave Prince of Peace complete control of this game. McGraw hit a few free throws late to put this one on ice as the Irish held on for the 69-61 win.

"We walked the ball up the whole first half and that's not our game," Murphy said. "We have to rely on our speed and our athleticism so every time we had it in the second half we pushed the ball. We started executing much better and I was happy with that second half."

Powell ended the night with 40 points while McGraw added 17 points all which came in the second half.

Prince of Peace improves to 12-8 on the year and 6-5 in conference play. They will cap off their regular season with a home game on Tuesday night against North Cedar.