WELLSVILLE - In front of a packed house at Wellsville High School, the East Liverpool Potters upended the Wellsville Tigers 85-75 on Saturday.
The win improves East Liverpool's record to 6-4, while Wellsville falls for the first time in eight outings.
"This is a great environment to play in down here in Wellsville," said East Liverpool head coach Nate Conley. "There was no need to give an emotional speech before this game. Our guys were ready to play. On nights we don't play, I like coming down here to watch the Tigers play."
D.J. Austin led the East Liverpool scoring parade with 17 points. Displaying an all-around game, Austin passed out eight assists and led his team with 10 rebounds. He was in joined in double digits by Hayden Cunningham and Kade Reynolds with 16 points each, Owen Crawford 14 and Isaac Davidson 10. Crawford pulled down seven rebounds while Davidson dished three assists.
Wellsville's Cameron Douglas paced all scorers with 28 points. Jordan Sloan tallied 14 points, Seth Bradford 13 and Nate Scott 10 for the Tigers. Despite missing a sizable portion of the first half due to foul trouble, Bradford was the game's top rebounder with 13. Douglas grabbed seven missed shots and Sloan four. They both were credited with six assists. Scott and Bradford had three assists each.
"We just didn't do a very good job of running our offense," said Wellsville head coach David "Bug" Thompson. "We were settling for one shot instead of moving the ball, driving and hitting the open man. We're not very good when we don't do that. After the first quarter, we weren't getting into a rhythm."
Wellsville roared out to a quick 8-2 lead and led 19-15 after the first quarter. At this juncture, the Tigers' running game was clicking as they were repeatedly beating the Potters in transition.
East Liverpool turned the tables in the second quarter, outscoring their hosts 30-19 to take a 45-38 intermission lead.
"D.J. was tremendous offensively," Conley said. "That may have been the best all-around game he has ever played. Kade Reynolds and Zack English did a great job defensively on Wellsville's Nate Scott. Scott may be the finest player around and they did their best to limit his touches."
Two baskets by Austin and one each by Cunningham, Reynolds and Davidson enabled the guest Potters to grab a 55-41 lead with 3:33 remaining in the third quarter. The East Liverpool lead reached 18, 61-43 on a Cunningham hoop one minute later. Wellsville rallied two Douglas baskets and four foul shots to pull within 65-53 heading into the fourth quarter.
The hosts would get no closer than seven, 80-73 in the final quarter as East Liverpool seemingly answered each Tiger basket with a score of their own.
"We were playing pretty well down the stretch until the last two minutes," Thompson said. "Then, we started shooting threes. East Liverpool played a great game. You can't take anything away from them. They are going to win a lot of games."
The Tigers won an emotion-filled jayvee game 67-59. Hayden Dalrymple topped Wellsville with 21 points followed by Justin Miller 17, Branzen Grodhaus 14 and Jake Green 10. East Liverpool's Joey Bickerton led all scorers with 26 tallies. Zack Adkins netted 11.
The Tigers return to action at Lowellville on Tuesday for an Inter-Tri County League matchup. The Potters host Steubenville Catholic Central on Friday.
EAST LIVERPOOL: 15-30-20-20-85
EAST LIVERPOOL SCORING: Owen Crawford 6-2-14, Isaac Davidson 3-3-10, D.J. Austin 5-6-17, Hayden Cunningham 4-7-16, Zack English 3-0-7, Kade Reynolds 7-2-16, Austin Emmerling 0-1-1, Aaron Long 2-0-4. TEAM TOTALS: 30, 20-31: 85.
WELLSVILLE SCORING: Camden Douglas 9-6-28, Tyeshaun Franklin 0-0-0, Nate Scott 2-5-10, Antonio Fultz 3-0-6, Seth Bradford 3-7-13, Brendon Carr 1-0-2, Jordan Sloan 5-2-14, Sam McIntosh 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 24, 20-27: 75 .
Three-point goals: East Liverpool 5 (Davidson 2, Austin, Cunningham, English), Wellsville 7 (Douglas 4, Sloan 2, Scott).