SALEM - Salem led by three after one quarter and trailed by just two at the half, but undefeated East Liverpool pulled away in the third before putting the Quakers away in the fourth. The Potters outscored Salem 41-30 in the last two quarters en route to a 74-61 win - their fourth of the season - at the John C. Cabas Gymnasium on Tuesday.
"We always say that if it's a close game heading into the fourth we're in good shape," East Liverpool coach Nate Conley said. "Our practices are harder than any game we play. We're well conditioned and in good shape. If it's close in the fourth, we know we'll be O.K."
A rash of Salem turnovers coupled by missed shots late in the third and heading into the fourth ultimately opened the door for the Potters.
"We had that bad stretch," Salem coach Rich Hart said. "We had too many turnovers and too many missed shots. That's what we have to work on - taking care of the basketball and getting better shots."
In the first quarter, half of the Quakers attempts went in. Salem was 7-of-14 from the field. They scored 20 points, four 3-pointers included, and were led by Ryan Bush who dropped in eight in the opening frame. He would score four more in the second quarter to have a game-leading 12 at the half.
" Bush lit us up in the that first half," Conley said. "He's a good player and Salem is a good team. They battled. They weren't going to lay down for East Liverpool and they showed it."
Trent Kenreigh added five points with a 3-pointer in the first quarter, and Zach Ecomomous came off the bench and drained a trey himself just as the buzzer sounded to end the opening period.
East Liverpool garnered 17 points in the first quarter with a 5-of-12 outing from the field. They dropped in three 3-pointers of their own. Seth Talbott dropped in two of the bonus goals and Brian Beverly hit one.
The second quarter was won by the Potters, who outdid the Quakers 16-1. Mow Mow Thompson led the charge with seven second-quarter points Marky Thompkins scored six and Beverly added another 3-pointer.
Salem began to give the ball away in the second frame, committing seven turnovers, but a 9-of-13 performance at the line kept the Potters from expanding their lead past four.
The Potters were up 33-31 at the break.
"I knew coming in both teams were going to put up points," Conley said. "I expected that first half. They came in averaging 70 points in a game and we we're averaging 80, so I knew it was going to be a fast-paced. Salem was able to slow it down in the first half and their size inside hurt us a bit."
The Quakers outside shooting slowed down in the third quarter and completely stalled in the fourth, but Salem's inside presence kept the team fighting. Bush managed just two points in the second half to register 14 total. Kenreigh scored six in the third, but was shut out in the fourth. He finished with 11 points. Post player Anthony Shivers picked up the slack and came up with 16 second-half points. He was a perfect 8-of-8 at the line and tallied a game-high 18 points. He also hauled down seven rebounds. Max Wolfgang led with 10 boards.
"Anthony Shivers had a great second-half," Hart said. "He made some inside shots and drew fouls. I was happy with him and happy with Zach Ecomomous' big play at the end of the first quarter. I was happy with the entire team. I really thought we played well. Liverpool is a good team. I'm pleased with the way we played tonight and pleased with our effort. We just had that bad stretch. We need to do better with our possessions and get better looks. If we improve on that, we'll be O.K."
Beverly and Thompson tied for a Potter-high 17 points. Marky Thompkins scored 15 and Christian Kyle chipped in 10 points to the winning cause.
The J.V. Potters also walked away with a win, topping Salem 59-43.
Salem next hosts Minerva on Friday before enjoying a seven-day break.
"We have Minerva and it's a chance to even things up," Hart said of his his 2-3 team.
The Potters play Wellsville at Wellsville on Thursday.
EAST LIVERPOOL: 17 16 20 21 - 74
SALEM: 20 11 15 15 - 61
EAST LIVERPOOL SCORING: Christian Kyle 4-2-11, Regis Auer 4-0-8, Mow Mow Thompson 8-1-17, Brian Beverly 6-2-17, Marky Thompkins 3-9-15, Seth Talbot 2-0-6. TEAM TOTALS: 27, 14-22, 74.
SALEM SCORING: Ryan Bush 5-2-14, Trent Kenreigh 4-2-11, Brendan Webb 2-2-6, Zack Wukotich 1-0-3, Zach Ecomomous 1-1-3, Max Wolfgang 1-3-5, Anthony Shivers 5-8-18. TEAM TOTALS: 19, 18-25, 61.
THREE POINTERS: East Liverpool 6 (Beverly 3, Talbot 2, Christian), Salem 5 (Bush 2, Kenreigh, Wukotich, Ecomomous).