NEW MANCHESTER - The East Liverpool boys' basketball team led by two points late in the first half, but the Potters stepped up their intensity in the second half as they outscored Oak Glen, 51-18, en route to a 67-40 victory Friday night at the Oak Glen Fieldhouse.
The Potters have won two-straight games to improve to 2-5 on the season. The Golden Bears drop to 1-2.
The game was the second rivalry game of the week for each team. East Liverpool defeated Beaver Local Tuesday night at Potter Fieldhouse, while Oak Glen defeated Weir at the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse.
"I questioned their intensity at halftime," East Liverpool head coach Nate Conely said about what led to his team's improved play in the second half. "We came out really flat on defense. I could care less about offense. You're not going to score a lot of point every night.
"We were flat defensively, and I called them out on it, every single one of them.
"In the second half, we came out and played good team defense. Defensively, we were led by our point guard D.J. Austin, and everyone else followed."
East Liverpool 67, Oak Glen 40
East Liverpool 13 13 16 25 - 67
Oak Glen 14 8 8 10 - 40
EAST LIVERPOOL: Austin 3 3-4 10, Cunningham 5 6-8 19, Reynolds 1 1-2 3, Emmerling 3 2-2 8, Thompson 5 8-10 18, Crawford 0 0-0 0, Rickerd 0 1-2 1, Burson 1 0-0 2, Long 2 2-2 6, Hilditch 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 23-30 67. 3-pointers: Cunningham 3, Austin.
OAK GLEN: Click 2 0-0 5, Ford 1 0-0 2, Kincaid 1 0-0 2, Howell 3 9-12 15, McLaughlin 1 1-4 3, Smith 0 0-0 0, McGraw 3 0-0 6, Woodruff 1 5-7 7, Congo 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 15-23 40. 3-pointers: Click.
The Potters led by four points at halftime before breaking the game open in the second half.
"We didn't perform well in the second half," Oak Glen head coach Dave Smith said. "We played with a lot of energy in the first half, but we were unable to sustain the energy."
Three players scored in double digits to lead the way for the Potters. Derek Thompson ended up with a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds, Hayden Cunningham netted a game-high 19 points and Austin tallied 10 points.
Cody Howell contributed a team-high 15 points to lead the way for the Golden Bears.
East Liverpool jumped out to leads of 5-0, 9-5 and 12-6 in the first quarter. Oak Glen battled back, and the Golden Bears ended the quarter on an 8-1 spurt to lead 14-13 at the end of the quarter.
In the second stanza, a 3-pointer by Cunningham put the visitors up 22-18. Later, a basket by McGraw cut Oak Glen's deficit to 24-22. The Potters led 26-22 at the half.
"I thought they outworked us in the first half," Conley said. "They outhustled us and they outworked us. I had to question their intensity at halftime.
"We were firing up 3's, and then we got the ball inside to our big men, and they were able to score some easy buckets. We also did a good job of rebounding. I think the difference in the game was our intensity in the second half and us pounding the ball inside."
Smith said the Potters were able to hurt his team on the offensive end by getting multiple offensive rebounds, which led to some easy baskets.
"We weren't able to boxing them out," he said. "We can't give up offensive rebounds. We can't give up second and third chances. They outworked us on the glass.
"They didn't do anything we didn't expect. I just think they wore us out a bit. "I think they have gotten a little better, and we need to continue to get better."
Oak Glen plays North Marion at home today with a JV start of 3:30 p.m. Meanwhile, East Liverpool goes on the road to take on Big Red. The JV game is a 4 p.m. start at the Crimson Center.
"We are going to have to be ready to play against Big Red," said Conley. "You never know what you are going to get with Big Red. They are extremely athletic. We are going to have to watch some film on them."