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Potters’ bench sparks team over Buckeye Local

EAST LIVERPOOL — About two weeks ago, East Liverpool senior Nick Woodyard stepped forward and told coach Nate Conley he needed to step up and do more.

“I always talk to him about making an impact when he comes off the bench. We needed him to be more aggressive,” Conley said.

The Potters’ bench spark plug showed exactly what type of instant impact he can have Tuesday, keying a decisive first-half run, as East Liverpool roared back from a sluggish start to breeze past Buckeye Local, 84-52, at Potter Fieldhouse.

East Liverpool improves to 8-3 overall, while Buckeye Local falls to 4-8.

Woodyard finished with 14 points and four rebounds. Ten of his points came during a 19-4 burst that spanned the first and second quarters and gave the Potters firm control of the game.

“Over the last couple of weeks, Nick has been playing great basketball. He’s been really active,” Conley said. “Tonight, he gave us an instant impact. That’s exactly what we’ve wanted him to do.”

The game was tied at 16 late in the first quarter when the Potters began to pull away. They led 25-18 when Woodyard scored on four straight possessions to widen the gap to 33-20 with four minutes left before halftime. The Panthers never got within single digits again.

“We were able to get some turnovers and open up some holes in the defense,” Woodyard said. “I couldn’t ask for better teammates to get me the ball and put me in good positions to score.”

East Liverpool forced 28 turnovers and was able to feast in transition most of the night.

“We started trapping more late in the first quarter and made them speed things up,” Woodyard said. “We rotated really well and did a good job making them uncomfortable.”

Woodyard led a second unit that outscored Buckeye Local’s bench, 29-6, and helped flip the momentum after the Panthers jumped to a 12-6 lead in the first three minutes.

“I thought Buckeye Local improved a lot since we played them last month,” Conley said. “They gave us fits early on. We were in a little bit of trouble for a bit, but our bench led by Nate, Levi George and Gannon Irvine gave us a big spark, and then we settled down.”

Tresean Jackson removed any doubt with 10 points in the first four minutes after halftime. The East Liverpool senior finished with a game-high 28 points and four assists. Brennan O’Hara had a solid night with 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Buckeye Local was led by Jake Mayle with 21 points.

“We really stressed getting back in transition and, unfortunately, we couldn’t do that tonight,” Buckeye Local coach Chris Heaton said. “It all starts on the defensive end for us. If we can’t stop anybody, it’s going to be a long night.”

GAME NOTES

≤ The Potters have won their six Buckeye 8 North games by an average of 31 points.

≤ The Potters won the JV game 63-48. Devin Toothman led the way with 20 points.

UP NEXT

Buckeye Local: Hosts Bridgeport on Friday.

East Liverpool: Travels to Indian Creek on Friday.

East Liverpool 84, Buckeye Local 52

Buckeye Local 16-8-8-20 — 52

East Liverpool 21-18-26-19 — 84

BUCKEYE LOCAL: Hayden Taylor 0-4-4, Jacob Moffo 3-0-7, Jake Mayle 6-5-21, Cameron Grabits 3-1-7, Hunter Darrah 4-0-8, Luke Darrah 0-0-0, Cameron Best 1-0-2, Ethan McHugh 2-0-4, Dalton Watt 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19, 10-16: 52.

EAST LIVERPOOL: Brennan O’Hara 4-5-14, Timmy Neal 1-1-3, Tresean Jackson 12-3-28, Zavea Green 2-2-6, Cam Beverly 0-2-2, Nick Woodyard 6-2-14, Levi George 2-0-4, Cole Dailey 1-3-5, Gannon Irvine 2-0-4, Devin Toothman 1-0-2, Chance Stull 1-0-2. TOTALS: 28, 16-27: 84.

3-POINT GOALS: Buckeye Local 5 (Mayle 4, Moffo); East Liverpool 2 (Jackson, O’Hara).

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