NEW MANCHESTER -The Potters took control.
The East Liverpool boys' basketball team led by two points late in the first half, but the Potters stepped up their intensity in the second half as they outscored Oak Glen, 51-18, en route to a 67-40 victory Friday night at the Oak Glen Fieldhouse.
The Potters have won two-straight games to improve to 2-5 on the season. With the loss, the Golden Bears drop to 1-2.
East Liverpool’s Hayden Cunningham shoots over Oak Glen’s Kyle Woodruff on Friday in New Manchester. (Photo by Jimmy Joe Savage)
The game was the second rivalry game of the week for each team. East Liverpool defeated Beaver Local Tuesday night at Potter Fieldhouse, while Oak Glen defeated Weir at the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse.
"I questioned their intensity at halftime," East Liverpool head coach Nate Conely said about what led to his team's improved play in the second half. "We came out really flat on defense. I could care less about offense. You're not going to score a lot of point every night.
"We were flat defensively, and I called them out on it, every single one of them.
East Liverpool 67, Oak Glen 40
EL 13-13-16-25 - 67
OG 14-08-08-10 - 40
EL (67): D.J. Austin 3 3-4 10, Hayden Cunningham 5 6-8 19, Kade Reynolds 1 1-2 3, Austin Emmerling 3 2-2 8, Derek Thompson 5 8-10 18, Owen Crawford 0 0-0 0, John Rickerd 0 1-2 1, Ryian Burson 1 0-0 2, Aaron Long 2 2-2 6, Matt Hilditch 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 23-30 67.
OG (40): Tyler Click 2 0-0 5, Jakob Ford 1 0-0 2, Taylor Kincaid 1 0-0 2, Cody Howell 3 9-12 15, Matt McLaughlin 1 1-4 3, Trey Smith 0 0-0 0, David McGraw 3 0-0 6, Kyle Woodruff 1 5-7 7, Bryan Congo 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 15-23 40.
3-Pointers: East Liverpool: 4 (Cunningham 3, Austin); Oak Glen: 1 (Click)
"In the second half, we came out and played good team defense. Defensively, we were led by our point guard D.J. Austin, and everyone else followed."
The Potters led by four points at halftime before breaking the game open in the second half en route to a 27-point victory over their local rivals.
"We didn't perform well in the second half," Oak Glen head coach Dave Smith said. "We played with a lot of energy in the first half, but we were unable to sustain the energy."
Three players scored in double digits to lead the way for the Potters. Derek Thompson ended up with a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds, Hayden Cunningham netted a game-high 19 points and Austin tallied 10 points.
Also for East Liverpool, Austin Emmerling collected eight points and eight rebounds, Aaron Long recorded six points and Kade Reynolds delivered three points. Finally, Ryian Burson scored two points, and John Rickerd contributed one point.
"Aaron Long played a solid game," Conley said.
Cody Howell contributed a team-high 15 points to lead the way for the Golden Bears.
Also for Oak Glen, Kyle Woodruff finished with seven points, David McGraw delivered six points and Tyler Click collected five points. Finally, Matt McLaughlin netted three points, and Jakob Ford and Taylor Kincaid each recorded two points.
East Liverpool jumped out to leads of 5-0, 9-5 and 12-6 in the first quarter. Oak Glen battled back, and the Golden Bears ended the quarter on an 8-1 spurt to lead 14-13 at the end of the quarter.
In the second stanza, a 3-pointer by Cunningham put the visitors up 22-18. Later, a basket by McGraw cut Oak Glen's deficit to 24-22. The Potters led 26-22 at the half.
"I thought they outworked us in the first half," Conley said. "They outhustled us and they outworked us. I had to question their intensity at halftime."
The Potters used their height and strength to their advantage in the second half. East Liverpool was able to get the ball inside to their big men, and their post players did a good of rebounding the ball on both ends of the floor.
"We were firing up 3's, and then we got the ball inside to our big men, and they were able to score some easy buckets," Conley said. "We also did a good job of rebounding. I think the difference in the game was our intensity in the second half and us pounding the ball inside."
Smith said the Potters were able to hurt his team on the offensive end by getting multiple offensive rebounds, which led to some easy baskets.
"We weren't able to boxing them out," he said. "We can't give up offensive rebounds. We can't give up second and third chances. They outworked us on the glass."
The Potters came out strong to start the third quarter. A basket by Emmerling made the score 32-23. Later, another 3-pointer by Cunningham put the visitors up by double digits for the first time at 36-26. East Liverpool ended the stanza on another run as the Potter took a 42-30 advantage into the fourth quarter.
"They didn't do anything we didn't expect," Smith said. "I just think they were us out a bit. They didn't do anything we didn't expect.
"I think they have gotten a little better, and we need to continue to get better."
A 13-0 put the Potters up 55-32 in the fourth. East Liverpool scored the final eight points of the game.
East Liverpool won the JV game, 58-12. Joey Bickerton netted a game-high 20 points to lead the way for the Potters. Matt Stipec tallied three points for the Golden Bears.
Both teams will play less than 24 hours after the conclusion of Friday night's affair. Oak Glen plays North Marion at home today with a JV start of 3:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, East Liverpool goes on the road to take on Big Red. The JV game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at the Crimson Center.
"We're fine," Conely said. "We have played a lot of games so far this season. We have played eight games in the first three weeks of the season.
"We are going to have to be ready to play against Big Red. We have good depth on this team.
'Tonight, we picked up our intensity on defense. I am happy with the win.
"You never know what you are going to get with Big Red. They are extremely athletic. We are going to have to watch some film on them.
"We aren't good enough to prepare for two teams at once. Tonight, we were concentrated on oak Glen. Tomorrow, we will concentrate on Big Red."