East Liverpool rolls by Harrison
EAST LIVERPOOL — Coming off a loss to Meadowbrook in Saturday’s OVAC 4A final, the East Liverpool boys basketball team regrouped and put together a strong senior night performance Tuesday at Potter Fieldhouse.
Behind a balanced scoring effort, the Potters had more than enough to pull away for a convincing 67-46 victory over Harrison Central and reigning Div. II East District Player of the Year Kobe Mitchell.
Although East Liverpool coach Nate Conley said his team wasn’t at its sharpest in the first half, the Potters lead ballooned to as many 30 points after halftime as they improve to 15-5 overall. Harrison Central drops to 12-9.
“There were stretches where we weren’t great, but, like I just told the kids, we were still good enough to win by 20-plus points,” Conley said. “Their zone kind of slowed us down in the first half, we weren’t making shots. But I thought we came out and played a good second half.”
Everyone got involved to some degree for the Potters.
Tresean Jackson submitted a businesslike 22 points, while Timmy Neal and Nick Woodyard had 14 and 12 points respectively. The Potters sank nine threes and had 10 different players score.
East Liverpool led by nine at halftime and put the game away with a 14-2 third quarter run. Jackson hit a pair of three during the surge, while buckets from Brennan O’Hara and Neal capped it off and gave the Potters a 44-25 lead.
“I thought our ball movement and defensive pressure were really good tonight,” Neal said. “We started a little slow, but we always come out with a spark in the third quarter.”
Mitchell-who has torched numerous teams this season-still racked up 29 points, but the tenacious Potters made sure he had to battle hard for every one of them. The Huskies got just 27 points from the rest of their roster.
“We wanted to trap a lot to try and slow him (Mitchell) down,” Neal said. “We know what he is capable of and we wanted to show him that our defense could do. We did a good job of turning them over and playing the transition game we like.”
The Huskies close the regular season against Garaway on Friday, and head coach Justin Clifford hopes his team can quickly turn the page.
“We need to leave this performance behind,” Clifford said. “We didn’t play very good today. East Liverpool had a lot to do with that, but we just didn’t have it tonight. For whatever reason, we just didn’t look very confident and that’s on me.”
The Potters also have one tuneup left before the postseason when they travel to Minerva for a makeup game Friday. They will take the floor one more time this season at Potter Fieldhouse on Saturday, February 29 for a sectional game against Indian Valley.
“Basketball is a long season and you can go one of two ways this late in the year,” Conley said. “We could still be hungry or we could start counting down the days. I think it’s very important that we stay hungry and motivated. We’re going to try and handle our business Friday first before moving all our attention to Indian Valley.”