Unbeaten Potters are all grown up
EAST LIVERPOOL — The East Liverpool boys basketball team went through some growing pains playing extremely youthful squads the past two seasons. But that’s paying big dividends this year as the veteran Potters rolled to their second win in as many games, posting an 80-51 Buckeye 8 Athletic League triumph over visiting Edison Tuesday night.
The Potters (2-0 overall, 1-0 in the league) have won their first two games of the season by 19 and 29 points over Wellsville and Edison, respectively.
“They (Edison) beat us last year, so it was a good revenge game,” East Liverpool coach Nate Conley said.
With the setback, Edison, which has been beset by injuries, fell to 0-2.
“I would say (the key to the outcome) was transition defense,” said Edison head coach Nate Moses. “With an athletic team like (East Liverpool) you’ve got to get back.”
East Liverpool displayed outstanding offensive balance against the Wildcats as nine players dented the scoreboard, led by an all-round outstanding effort by senior guard Gabe Roach who took game scoring honors with 24 points. Roach was all over the court, converting layups off turnovers while finding his teammates with some sharp passes underneath for baskets.
“I like to get my teammates involved in the open court,” said Roach. “I just want to win, no matter how many points I have, as long as we’re winning, I’m fine.”
Also reaching double figures for the Potters were James Maxwell with 15 points and two blocked shots while Nick Woodyard finished with 10 markers.
“I think if anything tonight it shows what type of team we have in that on any given night someone different can lead us in scoring,” said Conley. “That’s what I really like to see because you can’t focus on one player.”
Edison was paced by Zac Easter with 10 points while teammate Alec McBane added nine points.
The Potters jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first 1:28 of the game and never trailed, led by Roach who tossed in 14 first-half points, many coming on layups after Edison turnovers, while Maxwell was all over the court, rebounding, blocking two shots and adding 12 first-half points, including a pair of three-pointers.
“That’s a very good East Liverpool team and we knew that coming in,” said Moses. “They started out together a couple years ago and that’s a good team. At the same time, we have to get better and look at ourselves in the mirror and know what we have to do to improve.”
“We emphasize ball movement and I thought the ball was hopping tonight,” said Conley. “We passed the ball well.”
Zac Easter led the Wildcats in the first half with five points, but turnovers and missed free throws plagued Edison in the opening two quarters as they trailed the Potters 18-11 after one period and 35-20 at the break.
Edison finished with 22 turnovers in the game and found itself chasing the Potters and the scoreboard.
“I give Edison credit, they are a fundamentally sound team, they run the flex offense and we had to do some adjusting to that at halftime,” said Conley.
East Liverpool led 63-35 after three quarters and took its largest lead of the night at 24 points (77-43) following a hoop by Woodyard with 3:12 left. Edison outscored East Liverpool 8-3 in the remaining time to trim the final deficit to 29 points.
“I thought we really executed everything down the stretch in the second half,” said Roach. “We looked better as a team in the second half.”
• East Liverpool’s junior varsity team (2-0) rolled to an 80-25 win over the Wildcats (0-2). Tyler Roe led the Potters with 14 points, while teammate Cam Beverly and Izaihe Browning added 12 markers each. Owen Hughes paced Edison with 11 points.
• The Potters have another Buckeye 8 Athletic League North Division tilt on Friday night when they make the short trip to Beaver Local to play the rival Beavers.
• Edison also has a Buckeye 8 North game Friday night when it entertains the Buckeye Local Panthers.
EDISON: 11- 9-15-16–51
E. LIVERPOOL: 18-17-28-17–80
EDISON LOCAL SCORING: Gage Robinson 0-0-0, Zac Easter 6-3-16, Bryce McAfoose 4-0-8, Isaac Schmitz 3-0-6, Brennan Scott 1-0-2, Andrew Kinney 1-0-2, Alec McBane 3-2-9, Andrew Pugh 3-0-8, Isaac Zastudil 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 21-5-12 51.
EAST LIVERPOOL SCORING: Nick Woodyard 4-1-10, Brennan O’Hara 4-0-9, Timmy Neal 2-2-6, Gabe Roach 11 2-24, Levi George 1-0-3, Tresean Jackson 2-0-4, Peyton Reed 0-0-0, Tyler Roe 2-0-4, Sabaan Razi 0-0-0, Izaiha Browning 1-3-5, Cam Beverly 0-0-0, James Maxwell 5-3-15. TEAM TOTALS: 32 11-13 80.
Three-point goals: Edison Local 4 (Andrew Pugh 2, Alex McBane 1, Zac Easter 1). East Liverpool 5 (James Maxwell 2, Nick Woodyard 1, Brennan O’Hara 1, Levi George 1).