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Big Red puzzles Potters

East Liverpool’s Zavea Green drives into the lane against Steubenville’s Quinn McCoy on Friday. (Photo by Justin Golba)

EAST LIVERPOOL — For every young team, getting over the hump and learning how to win is paramount for success.

For the East Liverpool boys basketball team, those circumstances are no different. The Potters fell to Steubenville 72-66 in a closely contested game on Friday night at Potter Fieldhouse.

The Potters previously lost to the Big Red on Dec. 30, 64-63.

Steubenville moves to 10-3 while the Potters fall to 6-3.

“Steubenville is extremely good and extremely athletic,” East Liverpool coach Nate Conley said. “They work hard and they rebound the ball well. I thought we played solid through three quarters. I thought we played really good basketball for three quarters but just didn’t get that offensive rebound when we needed too.”

The Potters trailed 36-32 at the half but came out strong in the second half and briefly took the lead 41-40 with five minutes remaining in the third quarter. However, Steubenville answered and took the lead back and never let it go from there.

“Their guard play is good,” Conley said. “We will get better from this. I still don’t think we are playing anywhere near our potential. We are getting there and playing a lot better and these are the games you need. Steubenville, New Philly last week, those games are only going to make you better. Big Red are a top three team in our district. We were right there and the kids wanted it. We have some things to work on and we will.”

“Both teams like to play the exact same way,” Steubenville coach Mike Haney said. “We both like to get up and down the court, play a lot of defense and get after it. They are very athletic, long, and lanky and can cause a lot of turnovers. They just battled. They fought and they never hung their heads.”

For the Potters, Devin Toothman led the way with a game-high 23 points. Zavea Green added 15 points and Cole Dailey and Cam Beverly each added 10 points. For Big Red, Brenten Jones had 15 points and Phaeton Hill and Chase Zimmerman each added 12 points.

“We just need to start gelling together,” East Liverpool’s Cole Dailey said. “And we all turned it over. We will get it going though, just work on turnovers and rebounds. We will be alright. We will come together. We will get ours and come together.”

“This was like a tournament type of game,” Haney said. “It just had that feel and the whole game was pretty intense.”

For East Liverpool, they were one or two defensive rebounds away from having a great chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter but could not get that key board or defensive stop.

“We work on it at practice,” Conley said. “The kids are working hard at it. Steubenville is probably the best offensive rebounding team in the valley. They really go and get the ball. We really need to focus up and go find a body and we are so tall and long that sometimes we get lazy with the boxouts and you can’t against Big Red. Unfortunately, we didn’t come out with a win, but it was a good basketball game that we will learn from.”

As coach Conley said, every loss is a lesson learned.

“We just have to get over the hump,” Conley said. “They are a good basketball club and I thought tonight might be the night but we will learn from it and get better from it.”

Steubenville is at Union Local on Tuesday.

East Liverpool will host Carrolton on Tuesday.

In jayvee action, East Liverpool won 55-48. For the Potters, Marquise Glenn had 12 points and for Steubenville, Ty Pierce had 21 points.

STEUBENVILLE: 21-15-22-14–72

E. LIVERPOOL: 14-18-21-13–66

STEUBENVILLE SCORING: Cade Kernahan 3-2-9, Zion Sawyer 2-6-10, Andrew Gresko 4-1-9, Mike Rook 1-0-3, Chase Zimmerman 4-4-12, Phaeton Hill 4-1-12, Ivan Buggs 0-0-0, Brenten Jones 7-1-15, Quinn McCoy 1-0-2. TEAM TOTALS: 26, 15-23: 72

E. LIVERPOOL SCORING: Chance Stull 1-0-2, Preston Kerr 0-0-0, Cole Dailey 5-0-10, Devin Toothman 9-3-23, Zavea Green 5-4-15, Cam Beverly 4-0-10, Jerone Deal 3-0-6, Mason Ludwig 0-0-0. TEAM TOTALS: 27, 7-13: 66

Three-point goals: Steubenville 5 (Hill, Kernahan, Rook), E. Liverpool 5 (Beverly 2, Toothman 2, Green).

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