Potters playing together

Above, Tresean Jackson drives to the basket between Beaver Local’s Tate Joseph (left) and Luke Chetock on Tuesday. (Photo by Jimmy Joe Savage)

EAST LIVERPOOL–After battling down to the wire with Beaver Local last month, the East Liverpool boys basketball team had no need to sweat out another heart-stopping finish the second time around.

The Potters brushed off an early eight-point deficit and methodically took down their rivals 73-51 Tuesday at Potter Fieldhouse.

“We’re more of a team now than when we played them early in the season,” East Liverpool senior Gabe Roach said. “We’re more comfortable with each other and we have better chemistry with each other on the court. We were ready to go tonight. Everyone knew what we had to do and we went out there and executed.”

Roach led the way with a solid 21-point, seven-rebound effort as the Potters improve to 9-3 overall and 6-0 in the Buckeye 8 Athletic League North Division. The Beavers fall to 4-7, 1-4.

“We know it’s always going to be competitive, that’s always the fun part when you play Beaver Local,” Roach said. “There is always an edge between us, but there’s always good sportsmanship, which makes it nice. It was great to come out here and get this win in front of our fans.”

The Beavers, who lost by just two points to the Potters early in December, came out and landed the first punch by going 5-for-6 from the three point line in the first seven minutes on their way to a 17-9 lead.

The Potters were not rattled and catapulted back in front with a 13-2 run which spanned the first and second quarters.

With all of the early momentum favoring the Beavers, East Liverpool coach Nate Conley elected not to take a timeout and allowed his team to work things out on their own. He was pleased with the maturity his group showed.

“I wanted to let our point guard Tresean (Jackson), handle it,” Conley said. “That’s the nice thing about having a veteran group that’s been playing with each other for three years. They really showed their poise when Beaver came out and hit those early shots.”

The Beavers hung tough and closed within 37-34 halfway through the third before the Potters embarked on a 17-4 run to move comfortably in front.

In addition to Roach, the Potters also got a nice night from Jackson, who hit a pair of threes during the decisive stretch and finished with 19 points.

After Beaver Local’s first quarter barrage, the Potters clamped down and held them to three three pointers the rest of the game.

“We just had to do a better job staying connected to our man,” Conley said. “You can’t lose your man against Beaver Local because their ball movement is good and they shoot well.”

The Beavers were powered by 15 points and eight rebounds from forward Jaden Kiddey. Tate Joseph nailed three three-pointers and finished with 12 points.

“I think we surprised them a little bit the first time around. As a whole, we just didn’t execute as well tonight,” Beaver Local coach Jason Pacanowski said. “Every time they put a run on us, we kind of panicked and started to get away from running our offense. We made some errant passes and poor decisions.”

East Liverpool hosts Steubenville Catholic Central Friday, while Beaver is at Buckeye Local.

“I told the guys there is a lot of season left,” Pacanowski said. “This one game doesn’t make or break anything. But we have to do a better job of handling adversity. When things go wrong, we have to start coming closer together.”

Game notes

¯Roach delighted the crowd by flushing down a pair of two-handed dunks in transition, one in the first quarter and one in the third.

“I’ve had a few times earlier this year, where I’ve been up there and just kind of dropped it down. Coach Conley said it’s only official if I grab the rim and bring it down,” Roach laughed.

¯James Maxwell got off to a fast start and finished with 10 points for East Liverpool. The Potters also got solid nights off the bench from Izaiha Browning (seven points) and Tyler Roe (six points, nine rebounds).

¯East Liverpool has now won five straight against Beaver Local.

¯East Liverpool won the jv game 54-31. Zavea Green led the Potters with 17 points. Ethan Stephenson scored six points for the Beavers.

¯Friday’s East Liverpool game against Steubenville Central Catholic will feature a 6 p.m. jv start instead of the normal 5:30 p.m. start this season.

BEAVER LOCAL: 17-9-12-13–51

EAST LIVERPOOL: 13-20-15-25–73

BEAVER LOCAL SCORING: Nathan Barber 2-0-4, Luke Chetock 3-0-9, Tate Joseph 4-1-12, Josh Hilditch 4-0-9, Logan Reed 0-0-0, Jaden Kiddey 7-1-15, Grant Hall 1-0-2, Dante Ditri 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 21, 2-5: 51.

EAST LIVERPOOL SCORING: Brennan O’Hara 2-0-4, Timmy Neal 2-1-5, Gabe Roach 9-1-21, Tresean Jackson 6-4-19, Tyler Roe 3-1-7, Izaiha Browning 3-0-7, James Maxwell 5-0-10. TEAM TOTALS: 30, 7-14: 73.

Three-point goals Beaver Local 8 (Chetock 3, Joseph 3, Hilditch 2), East Liverpool 5 (Jackson 3, Roach 2).