No walk in the park for Potters

EAST LIVERPOOL -Down a key member of their lineup, the Wheeling Park Patriots didn’t miss a beat as they used a 25-point first quarter to jump out on the East Liverpool Potters and cruise to a 73-39 victory on Tuesday night.

“We came out we knew we had to get this win, we have been up and down all season but this one was important,” sophomore Ryan Reinbeau said. “We played well from the start, we had some transition points and kept the turnovers under our average. We shared the ball and shot the ball well as a team and did a decent job rebounding.”

The Patriots were without the services of senior Andrew Kowalo. In the absence of their top rebounder, Park came in to Potter Fieldhouse with a game plan and executed it early and often against the Potters (6-14).

“The scouting report was that they are not very fast back on defense,” Reinbeau said. “So the plan was to push as much as we could and to run our sets against a zone.”

Reinbeau led all scorers with 20 points and was proud to see key members of the Patriot bench step up in the absence of Kowalo.

“We had bench players step in and play well for us, but we miss a lot of rebounding with him (Kowalo) out,” Reinbeau said.

Both Chalmor Moffit and Phillip Bledsies did a good job rebounding the basketball for us tonight,” Wheeling Park coach Michael Jebbia said. “(Kowalo) averages about eight rebounds per game and kind of holds us together but the guys stepped up tonight.”

Wheeling Park threw out an up-tempo defense in the face of the Potters, and the hos’s’ failure to knock down jump shots from the outside factored into their laboring to score points. Down 25-11 after one, the Potters went into halftime down 16.

“We got beat by a better team tonight, there’s no question about that. We came out extremely flat and I thought we brought very little intensity,” Conley said. “I don’t know if it was due to the long lay-off, but this was not one of our prettiest games. The nice thing is we don’t have time to think about it.”

East Liverpool’s uninspired play continue drop the final three quarters. The good thing for the Potters about this loss is that it’s behind them and they have little time to dwell on it before a match-up with Oak Glen this evening.

“They don’t have a lot of size, so I wanted to pound the ball inside but it’s hard to do that when you miss jumpshot,” East Liverpool coach Nate Conley said. “If we are hitting jump shots then that spreads the defense out. But we didn’t shoot the ball well tonight so they were able to pack it into the paint and take us out of our game.”

Hayden Cunningham paced the Potters with 15 points. Derek Thompson added seven points in the loss for the Potters.

The Patriots were riding on an emotional high and use their momentum gained from a win against Zanesville to propel them into this match up with the potters. After their latest victory the goal. Is to keep the ball rolling as they headed to tournament time.

“I thought our kids did a good job we were coming off of a big win on Saturday,” Jebbia said. “I was hoping we would come out with the proper energy and we did a good job with that.”

The Potters did not have an answer for the energy or momentum, but rivaly games can provide a formula for positive strides.

“Tonight we took steps back and that’s something you don’t want to do at this point in the season So hopefully tomorrow we take a few steps forward,” Conley said. “When we play team basketball, we are a very good team. Tonight we didn’t play team basketball. Hopefully tomorrow we come out with a better attitude and we put together 32 minutes of good basketball.”

Wheeling Park won the jayvee game 48-26. Boyd Bibey led the Patriots with 12 points while Phil Bledsoe added 10 points. Owen Crawford led the Potters with 11 points.