STEUBENVILLE - Following Friday's victory at Oak Glen, East Liverpool coach Nate Conley was quoted as saying "you never know what you are going to get with Big Red."
On Saturday inside the Crimson Center, Conley and his Potters got a strong early season performance from the Big Red.
Four players reached double figures and the defense did its usual damage (registering 14 steals) as Mike Haney's cagers rolled to a 61-43 victory. The win was the third in four tries for Big Red.
UP FOR TWO — Steubenville Big Red’s Tajuan Lawson goes up for two of his game-high 19 points over East Liverpool’s Hayden Cunningham during Saturday’s 61-43 victory over the Potters at the Crimson Center.
"Anytime you can beat East Liverpool, it's a good win," Haney said. "They're a great team, they work hard, they play physical and they like to get up and down the court. We've been playing them for years and it's always good get a win against them."
Derek Thompson's hoop gave the Potters a 7-6 lead midway through the first quarter. It would be the last time Conley's club held an advantage. Tajuan Lawson countered by swishing back-to-back triples and the hosts were ahead to stay.
Haney's club, playing without senior point guard Periogn West, led 17-12 after one and 27-20 at the half.
Big Red 61, East Liverpool 43
East Liverpool 12 8 9 14 - 43
Big Red 17 10 18 16 - 61
EAST LIVERPOOL (2-6): Austin 3 1-1 7; Cunningham 3 3-4 10; Rickerd 0 0-0 0; Emmerling 1 0-0 2; Long 4 0-0 8; Crawford 1 0-0 2; Reynolds 2 0-0 5; Thompson 3 3-9 9. TOTALS: 17 7-14 43. 3-pointers: Cunningham, Reynolds; Rebounds: 51 (Thompson 10); Turnovers: 25.
BIG RED (3-1): Linn 4 2-3 11; Herring-Hill 6 0-0 12; Bailey 0 0-0 0; Lawson 7 2-6 19; Herrington 0 0-0 0; Young 4 2-3 10; Sterling 2 0-2 5; Redman 0 0-2 0; Smith 2 0-1 4; Purdue 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 25 7-18 61. 3-pointers: Linn, Lawson (3), Sterling; Rebounds: 37 (Young 9); Steals: 14 (Lawson 5); Turnovers: 11.
Big Red increased its advantage to 15 late in the third thanks to the performance of Mylik Young, who picked up a pair of fouls early. He scored after rebounding his own miss, assisted on buckets by Lawson and Chris Smith, then converted a conventional three-point play to make it 41-26 Big Red.
Heading into the final period, the hosts were up 45-29.
Lawson, who had a team-high five steals, paced the winners in scoring with 19. Brandon Herring-Hill added 12, John Linn chipped in 11, including a huge fourth quarter three that took the wind out of East Liverpool's attempt to rally, and Young posted 10, eight coming in the second half.
"I was happy with our effort, everyone stepped up," Haney said of Big Red's showing without West. "The kids gave us good minutes when it came to taking care of the ball, coming off the bench and rebounding or playing defense.
"Lawson had another strong game. And I credit Herring-Hill for hustling down the floor behind Lawson and scoring off a couple of misses. We were sharing the ball well, hitting the open men, knocking down some shots for a stretch and getting open looks."
The Potters, now 2-6, were paced in scoring by Hayden Cunningham with 10. Thompson added nine and Aaron Long eight. East Liverpool did outrebound Big Red 51-37, Thompson getting 10. Conley's team did have a rough shooting night, connecting on just 17 of 60 tries.
"We don't face adversity well and that's something we have to get over fast," Conley pointed out. "It was a good game in the first half, and then in the second half we looked a little tired. I really didn't see any effort or intensity the whole game.
"We've played eight games in like 16 days and we haven't had a lot of time to practice or rest. Plus six road games are tough for an inexperienced group. But those are excuses. We didn't box out well, we were awful from the foul line (7 of 14) and awful from the three point line. We didn't do anything well. We need to get back to fundamentals."
Big Red was 25 of 63 in the shooting category, had 10 assists (Young pacing the way with four) and turned the ball over 11 times.
"I like our effort right now, we're playing well," Haney noted. "I was happy with us having only 11 turnovers because we cut it down by half from the John Marshall game. We also created 23 of their turnovers and made some points off of them. We just have to get better at the free throw line (Big Red was seven for 18).
Both teams return to action to Tuesday. Big Red hits the road for the first time this season, traveling to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney.
East Liverpool is "home finally," as Conley put it to face a "very tough opponent" in Salem.