Potters pay back Bears

Special to the Journal/Jimmy Joe Savage East Liverpool’s James Maxwell drives in against Oak Glen’s Zach Taylor on Friday.

EAST LIVERPOOL–While they would much rather be playing for an Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championship, the East Liverpool boys basketball team eagerly welcomed a chance to avenge their December loss to Oak Glen in Friday’s OVAC 4A consolation game at Potter Fieldhouse

After a slow start, the Potters took command in the second quarter and raced by the Golden Bears 77-62 in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated.

“We definitely wanted another shot at them,” East Liverpool point guard Tresean Jackson said. “We came in here with the right mindset and took care of business.”

It was a stark contrast to the last time the two teams met, which resulted in a 57-55 Oak Glen victory. The Potters (16-5) feel they are a different team now.

“We definitely wanted another chance at them,” Conley said. “It’s fun playing a team early and then playing them again late in the season to see where you are at. I think we’re playing some great basketball right now. The ball is moving, we’re playing better on defense and we’re hitting shots. For three-and-a half quarters tonight, we played one of our sharpest games of the year.”

East Liverpool’s combination of quickness and crisp ball movement sliced up the Golden Bears (15-5) defense for most of the night.

The dangerous backcourt duo of Jackson and Gabe Roach controlled the action, with Roach totaling 20 points, six rebounds and four assists and Jackson finishing with 19 points and six assists.

James Maxwell supplied 17 points and five rebounds. while Timmy Neal had nine points and eight rebounds.

“Moving the ball is one of the main things we work on in practice,” Jackson said. “It was great to be able to get a lot of guys involved and find a lot of open looks tonight.”

Oak Glen was led by Sean Smith with 22 points. Zach Taylor added 16 points. As the Golden Bears wind down the regular season, coach Jerry Everly hopes Friday’s game serves as a wake-up call.

“We have to hit the reset button and start over,” Everly said. “We haven’t gotten beat like this all year. I take full responsibility for that. We just didn’t come ready to compete tonight and that falls on me.”

East Liverpool made shutting down Oak Glen forward Ethan Travis priority number-one and limited the star big man to two points and five rebounds.

“Everything on our scouting report had Ethan Travis’ name in it,” Conley said. “He’s so big and skilled, we knew that we had to gear everything we had towards slowing him down.”

The Potters took command with a 24-point second quarter, giving them a 37-23 halftime lead. After a minor Oak Glen surge cut the lead to eight midway through the third, East Liverpool answered back with an 11-3 run.

When Jackson dialed up a three with 1:33 left, the Potters led 54-38 and never looked back. Unlike the previous game, there was no fourth-quarter suspense this time around.

The Potters forced 12 turnovers during the decisive second and third quarters and held the Golden Bears to 36 percent shooting.

“It was our defense that really got us going tonight in the second quarter,” Jackson said. ‘That’s what wins games.”

Oak Glen will try and re-group when the Golden Bears close the regular season at home against John Marshall Thursday.

“I’m going to lean on the seniors to come through for us and get us where we need to be,” Everly said. “We still have what we want in front of us, and that’s a sectional title.

The Potters have a 10-day gap before they open Div. II sectional tournament play at home against Indian Creek Tuesday. February 26.

“We really like the way we’re playing now, but we can’t let up,” Jackson said. “We have to keep working hard in practice and be ready to go against Indian Creek.”

Game notes

¯ Jackson showed no ill effects from a sprained ankle suffered Monday at practice that caused him to miss the semifinal game against Meadowbrook.

¯ The Potters’ tournament game will be their third meeting against Indian Creek. The lower-seeded Redskins put up two tough fights against the Potters in the regular season. East Liverpool won 63-56 in overtime in December and 71-62 in the second matchup.

“We know we can’t look ahead to any district games because we have a tough Indian Creek team coming in here that we struggled with in the regular season,” Conley said. “A lot of coaches might be upset about the 10-day layoff, but I’m looking forward to working with these guys in practice. They work hard and have fun, it’s a great group to be around.”

¯ East Liverpool won the jv game 49-45. Levi George had 16 points for the Potters. Jacob Clark had 11 points for the Golden Bears.

OAK GLEN: 11-12-22-17–62

E. LIVERPOOL: 13-24-24-16–77

OAK GLEN SCORING: Ethan Travis 1-0-2, Wyatt Wiley 1-0-3, Sean Smith 9-3-22, Jarrett Gittings 2-1-7, Zach Taylor 4-4-16, Blake Perez 1-3-5, Gage Patterson 3-0-6, Alex Staub 0-0-0, Jacob Clark 1-0-2, Jay Aloria 0-1-1. TEAM TOTALS: 22, 12-16: 62.

EAST LIVERPOOL SCORING: Gabe Roach 7-5-20, Tresean Jackson 6-3-19, Brennan O’Hara 2-1-5, Timmy Neal 4-1-9, Tyler Roe 2-1-5, James Maxwell 7-3-17, Nick Woodyard 1-0-2, Peyton Reed 0-0-0, Sobaan Razi 0-0-0, Izaiha Browning 0-0-0, Levi George 0-0-0, Cameron Beverly 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 29, 14-23: 77.

Three-point goals: Oak Glen 5 (Gittings 2, Wiley, Smith, Taylor), East Liverpool 5 (Jackson 4, Roach).