AUGUSTA — There won’t be many easy nights for Monmouth’s young boys basketball team this season.

The Mustangs will have to work for every point, rebound and loose ball just to survive in the competitive Mountain Valley Conference. That’s what they did Friday night in their season opener as they pulled away from Lisbon for a 51-32 win.

“We lost about 90 percent of (our offense),” sophomore Brandon Goff said. “Coach (Lucas Turner) has called on the seniors and a couple of us that are just coming up to step up.”

Goff got the message, scoring a game-high 19 points, most of those in the second half. Seven of those points came in a 15-0 Mustang run that spanned the late third quarter and the early fourth. Devin West got it going with a three-point play and Goff fueled it with a couple of court-length layups that pushed the lead to 43-23.

“We hung tough in that first half without much offense,” Lisbon coach Eric Hall said. “We played undisciplined.”

The lack of discipline included a couple of technical fouls and poor shot selection. After a slow start of its own, Monmouth seized the opportunity.

“I think there were some nerves,” Tuner said. “There’s new kids in new roles. I think we took some shots outside the offense in the beginning, you know, first night.”

Turner rotated 10 players in and out of his lineup and it eventually wore the Greyhounds down. Senior Drew McFarren got the Mustangs off to a quick start with six of his nine points in the first half. He and Goff hit back-to-back layups midway through the second quarter to give Monmouth an 18-10 lead.

Lisbon responded with a 10-0 run in which Mason Smith scored seven of his nine points. Goff helped the Mustangs take a 22-18 lead at the half with a driving layup and a steal and assist to Billie Cummings.

“Last year (he was) a freshman on a senior laden team and kind of the eighth guy,” Turner said of Goff. “Now he can take that and kind of play the roles of the seniors from last year.”

Monmouth played tough man-to-man defense throughout the game much like it did last year.

“We’re trying to stop our fouls, less of the ticky-tack stuff and play more with our feet,” Goff said.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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