Mistakes prove costly as Potters fall, 56-39, to Big Red

EAST LIVERPOOL -Turnovers proved to be costly for the Potters.

The East Liverpool boys’ basketball committed 35 turnovers enabling Steubenville to pull away for a 56-39 victory Friday night at Potter Fieldhouse.

With the win, Big Red improves to 8-3 on the season. The victory also enabled Big Red to sweep the season series from the Potters.

“We came out and played well defensively,” Big Red head coach Mike Haney said. “We weren’t happy with our turnovers. We also had a lot of miscues. We had some turnovers on some fastbreaks. We missed some layups.”

Big Red committed 23 turnovers in the game.

With the loss, the Potters drop to 3-11. East Liverpool has now lost four-straight games since defeating Berkshire in the semifinals of the Potter Holiday Classic back on Dec. 28.

“It was a rough night,” third-year East Liverpool head coach Nate Conley said. “We are just going to forget about it and move on. It just wasn’t our night.

“We threw the ball all over the place. The whole team did. It just wasn’t one person.”

Big Red outscored East Liverpool in all four quarters.

Two players scored in double digits to lead the way for Big Red. Perigon West tallied a game-high 19 points to lead the way, and Mylik Young netted 14 points.

Hayden Cunningham was the lone Potter to reach double digits. Cunningham contributed a team-high 14 points.

Also for East Liverpool, Austin Emmerling ended up with nine points, Derek Thompson tallied six points and Owen Crawford and D.J. Austin each delivered four points. Finally, Aaron Long collected two points.

Big Red outrebounded the Potters, 27-21. Adam Sterling grabbed six rebounds to lead Big Red. Austin, Cunningham and Emmerling all pulled down four rebounds for the Potters.

Emmerling opened the game to give East Liverpool a 2-0 advantage. Unfortunately for the Potters, that was the only time they held the lead in the game.

Big Red led by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter.

“We hang our hat on our defense,” Haney said. “You can play defense every game. Offensively, sometimes you are cold and your shots are not dropping, but you can always play good defense. We want to get after it defensively, and hopefully good things will come from that.”

A basket by TaJuan Lawson put Big Red up 16-6 forcing Conley to call a timeout with 1:46 left to play in the first quarter. At that time, the Potters had already committed eight turnovers.

The Potters scored the final four points of the first quarter to cut their deficit to 16-10 at the end of the quarter.

East Liverpool managed to hang around for most of the second stanza. A basket by Thompson made the score 22-16, but Big Red finished the half on a 5-0 spurt to take a 27-16 lead into the locker room.

The Potters committed 17 turnovers in the first half, while Big Red committed 11. Big Red held a 14-11 rebounding advantage at the half.

“We knew their press was coming,” Conley said. “We thought we made the right adjustments for it, but that wasn’t the case.

“We are a young team. I don’t want them to get negative attitudes. They are great kids.”

Big Red extended their lead in the quarter.

A basket by West made the score 35-21. The Potters closed the gap to nine points (35-26) thanks to a three-point play by Emmerling and a pair of foul shots by Cunningham.

Big Red countered with a 9-0 surge to push the lead out to 44-26 on a basket by Sterling. Big Red led 44-29 entering the fourth.

“They are a younger team,” Haney said. “They are much improved. They are getting better as the season goes on. Cunningham is a good shooter. They have a very-good coaching staff.”

Big Red ripped off an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter to take their largest lead of the game at 52-31. East Liverpool cut into Big Red’s lead a little in the final minutes of the game but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Big Red entered the game coming off of a tough loss at St. Clairsville.

“It was nice to come back and play with a lot of energy,” Haney said. “We talked about how the last time we played them they really beat us on the boards. Tonight, we did a good job on the boards.”

East Liverpool won the JV game, 52-44.

Zack Adkins delivered a game-high 17 points to lead the way for the Potters, and Isaac Davidson netted 12 points. Lucas Herrington and Dashon Redman each recorded 10 points for Steubenville.

With all that is going on around them, Haney said his players have been able to focus in on the task at hand.

“When they step on to the basketball court they are focused,” he said. “They are focused during practice. They are focused during games.”

Big Red’s next game is Tuesday against Minerva. Minerva defeated Big Red, 78-70, in an Ohio Division II Eastern District Sectional Quarterfinal last year down at Ohio University Eastern in St. Clairsville.

East Liverpool plays Tuesday at home against West Branch. The Warriors defeated the Potters, 51-44, last year to handle East Liverpool its first loss of the season. The Potters entered the game at Beloit ranked fourth in the state in Division II with a record of 11-0.

“West Branch is the total opposite of Steubenville,” Conely said.