East Liverpool contains Mitchell, Huskies on senior night
EAST LIVERPOOL — Coming off a loss to Meadowbrook in Saturday’s OVAC 4A final, the East Liverpool boys basketball team regrouped and put together a strong senior-night performance Tuesday at Potter Fieldhouse.
Behind a balanced scoring effort, the Potters had more than enough to pull away for a convincing 67-46 victory over Harrison Central and reigning Division II East District Player of the Year Kobe Mitchell.
Although East Liverpool coach Nate Conley said his team wasn’t at its sharpest in the first half, the Potters’ lead ballooned to as many 30 points after halftime, as they improved to 15-5 overall. Harrison Central drops to 12-9.
“There were stretches where we weren’t great, but, like I just told the kids, we were still good enough to win by 20-plus points,” Conley said. “Their zone kind of slowed us down in the first half. We weren’t making shots, but I thought we came out and played a good second half.”
Everyone got involved to some degree for the Potters.
Tresean Jackson submitted a business-like 22 points, while Timmy Neal and Nick Woodyard had 14 and 12 points, respectively. The Potters sank nine 3s and had 10 different players score.
East Liverpool led by nine at halftime and put the game away with a 14-2 third-quarter run. Jackson hit a pair of 3s during the surge, while buckets from Brennan O’Hara and Neal capped it off and gave the Potters a 44-25 lead.
Mitchell — who has torched numerous teams this season — still racked up 29 points, but the tenacious Potters made sure he had to battle hard for every one of them. The Huskies got just 27 points from the rest of their roster.
“We wanted to trap a lot to try and slow him (Mitchell) down,” Neal said. “We know what he is capable of, and we wanted to show him that our defense could do. We did a good job of turning them over and playing the transition game we like.”
The Huskies close the regular season against Garaway on Friday, and head coach Justin Clifford hopes his team can quickly turn the page.
“We need to leave this performance behind,” Clifford said. “We didn’t play very good today. East Liverpool had a lot to do with that, but we just didn’t have it tonight. For whatever reason, we just didn’t look very confident and that’s on me.”
The Potters also have one tune-up left before the postseason when they travel to Minerva for a makeup game Friday. They will take the floor one more time this season at Potter Fieldhouse on Feb. 29 for a sectional game against Indian Valley.
“Basketball is a long season, and you can go one of two ways this late in the year,” Conley said. “We could still be hungry, or we could start counting down the days. I think it’s very important that we stay hungry and motivated. We’re going to try and handle our business Friday first before moving all our attention to Indian Valley.”
≤ At halftime, the Potters unveiled a new banner, honoring every boys and girls 1,000-point scorer in school history. East Liverpool’s 1,000-point scorers are Ken Cunningham (Class of 1961), Wendy Baker (1989), Mike McFarlane (1992), Stephen Flores (1997), Josh Reed (2003), Brian Kreefer (2005), Marky Thompkins (2012), Nikayla Edgell (2015), Isaac Davidson (2016) and Gabe Roach (2019).
Roach (a member of the Franciscan University of Steubenville basketball team), Davidson, Edgell, Reed and Flores were on hand for the ceremony. Cunningham was represented by his sister Janie Cunningham-Smith and son Kenny Cunningham.
≤ East Liverpool won the two-quarter jayvee game, 37-22. Cam Beverly had 11 points for the Potters. Sam Santille had 11 points for Harrison Central.
East Liverpool 67, Harrison Central 46
Harrison Central 8-11-8-19 — 46
East Liverpool 11-17-21-18 — 67
HARRISON CENTRAL: Kobe Mitchell 10-8-29, Crue Capers 1-0-2, Skylar Mazeroski 0-0-0, Cale McAfee 0-3-3, John Vermillion 4-1-9, Cabot Arbaugh 1-1-3, Sam Santille 0-0-0. TOTALS: 16, 13-20: 46.
EAST LIVERPOOL: Nick Woodyard 5-0-11, Brennan O’Hara 2-0-4, Timmy Neal 6-0-14, Levi George 1-0-3, Tresean Jackson 7-4-22, Gannon Irvine 1-0-2, Devin Toothman 2-0-5, Cole Dailey 1-0-2, Zavea Green 1-0-2, Demani Brown 1-0-2, Chance Stull 0-0-0, Cam Beverly 0-0-0, Jonathan Russell 0-0-0. TOTALS: 27, 4-8: 67.
3-POINT GOALS: Harrison Central 1 (Mitchell); East Liverpool 9 (Jackson 4, Neal 2, Woodyard, George, Toothman).