Big Red hands Potters first loss

STEUBENVILLE — Steubenville boys basketball coach Mike Haney had to use a timeout with 3:37 to go in Tuesday’s game in the Crimson Center after watching his team’s 21-point halftime lead trimmed to just five by visiting East Liverpool.

Big Red’s experienced group of nine seniors responded to the veteran coach’s message, pulling away for a 92-74 win in the battle of previously unbeaten teams that was a lot tougher than the final score might indicate.

“From mid third quarter until the first two or three minutes of the fourth (East Liverpool was on a roll),” Haney said. “We seemed like we were pressing a little bit and committing dumb turnovers. They cut it to five. I just told them to keep playing and play smarter.

“We are senior oriented. These guys just dug deep, never quit and kept fighting.”

Following Haney’s message, Steubenville (3-0) out-scored the Potters (3-1) 16-4 the rest of the way. Just after the timeout, the Potters trimmed the lead its smallest margin since the opening quarter at 78-74. From there, however, the Big Red rolled to victory by closing the game on a 14-0 run.

“It is definitely good to show some resilience early in the season,” Haney said. “We’ve been in this situation where we have lost games like that. We played smart at the end and made foul shots. The guys that played football, the guys that just play basketball, the baseball players (on the team) all just competed.”

An exclamation point was provided in the final minute when Jorian Jones and Josh Zimmerman turned back-to-back turnovers into slam dunks, sending the Steubenville faithful into a frenzy until the final buzzer.

For East Liverpool coach Nate Conley, his team just simply had to use too much energy to fight back from the early deficit.

“We cut it to six early in the fourth and had all the momentum in the world,” Conley said. “A few things didn’t go our way. We can’t start like that, especially against one of the better teams on our schedule in a great Big Red team. We came out really bad in the first quarter and that is on me. You could see in the second half we are a pretty good basketball team.

“I’m extremely proud because we played a very good second half. We made it very interesting. Mike had to call some timeouts. We just ran out of steam in the fourth quarter.”

The Potters had a 27-17 advantage in the third quarter to cut the Big Red lead to 11, and pulled within single digits on the first possession of the fourth quarter. The third quarter rally was led by Tresean Jackson, who scored 10 in the third and 21 of his game-high 27 points in the second half.

Big Red started strong, opening the game with a 7-0 run, eventually holding a 23-10 lead after the opening eight minutes. East Liverpool’s offense got going in the second quarter, but Steubenville’s still out-paced it with a 30-point outburst to extend the lead at the break.

“We knew we had to focus on protecting the paint,” Conley said. “Our size really doesn’t match up with them. That was our game plan, but they came out and hit some 3’s. We’ve got to get better on the road. That is what happens on the road, they come out ready to play and we weren’t. We’ll get better for the next time we hit the road.”

While Jackson and Gabriel Roach (22 points) did the bulk of the damage for the Potters, Big Red’s attack was spread throughout the lineup. Leading the way were James Roundtree (17 points) and Ryan Rauch (16 points). Jordan Wallace was also in double figures with 11, all in the second half. Nine of the 12 Steubenville players to hit the floor found the score sheet.

“It was a total team win,” Haney said.

Big Red plays at Minerva on Saturday. East Liverpool is home against Buckeye Local on Friday.

GAME NOTES

¯ Big Red won the jayvee game, 68-43. Quin McCoy led Steubenville with 19 points, Chase Zimmerman was close behind with 17 points. The Potters got 11 points from Cam Beverly.

E. LIVERPOOL: 10-22-27-15 — 74

STEUBENVILLE: 23-30-17-22 —92

EAST LIVERPOOL (3-1): Woodward 1 0-0 2; O’Hara 3 2-4 8; Neal 1 0-0 2; Roach 7 7-11 22; George 0 0-0 0; Jackson 9 3-6 27; Reed 0 0-0 0; Roe 2 0-1 5; Razi 0 0-0 0; Browning 4 0-0 8; Beverly 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 27 12-22 74.

STEUBENVILLE (3-0): Rauch 5 4-5 16; Wallace 3 3-5 11; Biasi 0 0-0 0; J. Jones 6 4-5 16; Bickerstaff 2 4-6 8; Zimmerman 2 2-4 6; Krause 0 0-0 0; Roundtree 8 1-1 17; Duggan 1 0-0 3; Bracone 2 0-0 6; T. Jones 3 0-0 9; Clevenger 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 32 18-26 92.

3-POINT GOALS: East Liverpool 8 (Jackson 6, Roach, Roe); Steubenville 10 (T. Jones 3, Bracone 2, Wallace 2, Rauch 2, Duggan).