Potters have Beaver Local’s number
EAST LIVERPOOL — A tournament game for any team is big in itself, but when you add the factor of playing your rival it makes the stakes that much bigger.
For the third time this season, Beaver Local and East Liverpool duked it out but this time in the postseason and for the third time this year the Potters came out victorious with a 63-55 win in Tuesday’s Division II sectional opener.
“We knew tonight was going to be a battle,” East Liverpool coach Nate Conley said. “We were gritty tonight and I am proud of that. We took some of their best punches and didn’t fall back. We executed down the stretch and got a big win for this young team.”
The Potters are now 9-14 and will now travel to third-seeded Zanesville in a sectional final at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Beavers finish the season 6-17.
“We were in a little losing streak in the playoffs and all the guys knew it so they wanted to get this win,” Conley said. “The last few years we’ve been going down to Zanesville for sectionals but was great to have a familiar opponent tonight.”
This was the Potters first tournament win since a 62-58 win over Indian Creek in the 2012 district semifinals.
“Everyday at practice we were going over ways to stop Beaver and we executed those things tonight,” East Liverpool’s Gabe Roach said. “The time off got us away from the losing streak at the end of the season and got us into a winning mindset.”
The Potters finished the season on a six-game losing streak.
“We came in ready to play and ready to beat our rival a third time,” Roach said. “It was great to get our first sectional win in a while and execute our gameplan.”
Roach finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Tre Jackson led the Potters in scoring with 21 points and five assists.
“They were face guarding Tre all night and he still got 21 points,” Conley said. “The way he saw the court and distributed the basketball I though he was really good. Especially for it being only his second playoff game I thought the way he played was really special.”
Brennan O’Hara had 13 points and five steals for East Liverpool. Nick Woodyard had eight points and Timmy Neal finished with six points.
“Timmy Neal and Nick were the ones who put us over the edge tonight,” Conley said. “Brennan wasn’t able to practice much because of injury so it was good to see him being productive.”
The Potters jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first quarter forcing the Beavers to take a timeout.
“You take away that 10-2 start out we played with them the rest of the way,” Beaver Local coach Jason Pacanowski “The thing that hurt us today were some poor shots at inopportune times and some turnovers that went directly to baskets.”
Beaver Local only trailed by five at the end of the first quarter at 15-10. Luke Chetock and Zak Pappas hit back to back threes giving the Beavers energy.
“The energy was great tonight,” Pacanowski said. “They were amped up and ready to go. They fought through that slow start and stayed in it the whole game.”
The Potters led 31-24 going into the half but the Beavers started the second half strong cutting the lead to a basket at 31-29.
The Potters striked back breaking into a double-digit lead for the first time at 49-38 after a Roach layup with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
Cody Bennett left the game with 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter with a knee injury.
“Cody improved drastically over this year,” Pacanowski said. “He hadn’t played basketball since sixth grade and we missed him over the later parts of the second half.”
The Potters maintained the lead in the fourth quarter not letting the Beavers get within seven on ways to the 63-55 victory.
“The whole week we’ve been preaching give it everything you got,” Pacanowski said. “There is nothing to lose at this point and you go as hard as you can. We did today and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Beaver Local was led by Luke Chetock with 15 points. Zak Pappas had 14 points and Drew Theiss had 13 points.
“We have some young guys and we will be back strong next year,” Pacanowski said.
¯ East Liverpool travels to face Zanesville (16-6) on Saturday.
“We get back to practice tomorrow and that’s what any team wants to do at this point of the season,” Roach said.
“Zanesville is an extremely talented team,” Conley said. “They have tall and athletic Division I talent so we got three days to get ready for them.
Zanesville beat OVAC 4A Champion Meadowbrook champion twice over the season. Meadowbrook beat Oak Glen 83-47 in the Class 4A semifinal.
¯ Beaver bids farewell to three seniors (Theiss, Pappas, Bennett)
“We are here to help them for the rest of their lives and all I can say is thank you to those guys,” Pacanowski said. “I have nothing but positives to say about these seniors and we will miss them next year.”
¯ The Potters outrebounded the Beavers 28-17.
BEAVER LOCAL: 10-14-16-15–55
EAST LIVERPOOL: 15-16-18-14–63
BEAVER LOCAL SCORING: Luke Chetock 5-2-15, Josh Hilditch 2-1-6, Zak Pappas 6-0-14, Grant Hall 0-2-2, Nathan Barber 0-0-0, Logan Reed 1-0-2, Jacob Kane 0-0-0, Cody Bennett 1-1-3, Drew Theiss 3-10-13. TEAM TOTALS: 18, 14-17: 55.
EAST LIVERPOOL SCORING: Brennan O’Hara 4-5-13, Logan Torma 0-0-0, Gabe Roach 6-2-15, Tre Jackson 6-6-21, Timmy Neal 3-0-6, Peyton Reed 0-0-0, Izaiah Browning 0-0-0, Nick Woodyard 4-0-8, Gannon Irvine 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 23, 13-16: 63.
Three-point goals: Beaver Local 6 (Chetock 3, Pappas 2, Hilditch), East Liverpool 4 (Jackson 3, Roach).