WELLSVILLE - The game was a special one for Allan Dingey and the Potters.
The East Liverpool girls' basketball team ripped off a 17-1 to rally from an early deficit en route to a 71-53 victory Thursday night at local-rival Wellsville.
With the win, the Potters are now 1-2 on the season. With the loss, the Tigers drop to 1-1.
Wellsville’s Sabrina Thompson shoots over East Liverpool’s Sarah Morrell on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Jimmy Joe Savage)
Dingey is in his first season as head coach of East Liverpool. Dingey has taken over the program from Emily Reed who resigned following last season after two years as head coach.
Dingey spent the previous 10 years as a coach inside the Wellsville program. He served as the Tigers' 8th grade coach last year.
"The win takes the monkey off of my back," Dingey said. "Maybe I can get some sleep tonight."
East Liverpool 71, Wellsville 53
EL (71): Nikayla Edgell 2 8-12 13, Elise Smith 0 0-0 0, Candace Holmes 5 0-0 10, Caitlyn Davis 1 0-0 2, Kiara Cowart 5 0-0 10, Chelsea Possage 2 3-8 7, Rae Ana Holmes 2 0-0 4, Sarah Morrell 3 0-0 6, Mary Davis 7 2-2 19. Totals; 27 13-22 71.
WE (53): Angelica Scarabino 0 1-2 1, Sabrina Thompson 3 4-8 11, Monica Wilson 1 1-2 4, Brittany Clendenning 5 0-0 10, Shartece Taylor 6 0-2 12, Kallee' Powell 5 0-0 14, Amanda Coles 0 1-2 1, Kira Kelley 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 7-16 53.
EL 15-19-12-25 - 71
WE 05-17-12-19 - 53
3-Pointers: East Liverpool: 4 (Mary Davis 3, Edgell); Wellsville: 6 (Powell 4, Thompson, Wilson)
The Tigers scored the first four points of the game before the Potters took control with their 17-1 spurt. East Liverpool capped the first quarter on a 10-0 to take a 15-5 lead. The visitors led by double digits for most of the rest of the way.
"We came out on fire, and they got on fire," Wellsville head coach Ed Swogger said. I would love to know what their shooting percentage was tonight. They shot the ball well tonight.
"We lost a couple of assignments when they made that run. We left their shooters open, but we made a few runs in the game as well. We cut it to eight points at one time."
Both teams had four players scored in double figures, and both teams committed more than 20 turnovers.
For the Potters, Mary Davis scored a game-high 19 points to lead the way. Davis knocked down three 3-pointers in the game.
Also, point guard Nikayla Edgell tallied 13 points, nine assists and four steals, Candace Holmes chipped in with 10 points to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks and Kiara Cowart contributed 10 points.
Next, Chelsea Possage scored seven points to go along with six rebounds and five steals, Sarah Morrell collected six points and 13 rebounds and Rae Ana Holmes netted four points.
Finally, Caityln Davis delivered two points.
"The girls were fired up," Dingey said. "It is a rivalry game, and they were fired up.
"We are young team, so we are a work in progress. We want to keep improving every game."
For the Tigers, Kallee' Powell produced a team-high 14 points to go along with three assists off of the bench, Shartece Taylor recorded 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals and Sabrina Thompson netted 11 points.
Brittany Clendenning also scored in double digits with 10 points. She also pulled down six rebounds.
Finally, Monica Wilson netted four points and three assists and Angelica Scarabino and Amanda Coles each ended up with one point.
Wellsville will have to rely on multiple girls to step up offensively to fill the void left by the graduation of Mikyla Tipton, who graduated in the spring as the program's all-time leading scorer. Tipton currently plays at Bethany.
"We don't have someone who is going to score 20 points a night," Swogger said. "We have girls who can score, six, eight and 10 points a night. We told the girls that if they do that, and if they play their roles, we will be fine."
The Potters committed 27 turnovers in the game. The Tigers committed 22.
The Potters won the rebounding battle by double digits.
The Potters led by as many as 15 points (29-14) in the second quarter. The Tigers scratched and clawed their way back into the game. A 3-pointer by Powell and a foul shot by Coles pulled Wellsville to within 29-21. East Liverpool led 34-22 at halftime.
"I want to congratulate Wellsville," Dingey said. "I have lot of respect for their program, their coaches and their players. I coached most of those girls. Wellsville will always have a special place in my heart.
"It was nice to come back, but you are in it to win it. Tonight was very special."
The Potters led 46-34 entering the fourth quarter.
"It was a valiant effort by our kids," Swogger said. "The girls never thought they were out of it.
"Our size killed us. We don't have any height this year. When we get Brittany Caldwell back, she will give us some size."
East Liverpool led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter.
"It was kind of strange seeing him wearing blue and white," Swogger said. "He was here for 10 years. He was my 8th grade coach last year. He was on the staff.
"It was kind of bittersweet. I wanted to beat him, and he wanted to beat me. It was probably nice for him to win against his old staff.
"It is hard coaching against him. He had the advantage. He coached these girls. He knew their strengths and weaknesses when they played for him. He had the advantage tonight because of him knowing the program."
East Liverpool won the JV game, 36-34. Ronnie Bailey netted a game-high 11 points to lead the way for the Potters, and Caitlyn Davis scored 10 points.
Rasheeda Kalam contributed 10 points for the Tigers.
"We are so young this year," Swogger said. "We are going to keep plugging away.
"Our girls gave one heck of an effort. With a young team and being down by 17 points, they could have quit, but they never did. They never quit. Even when they were done by 17 points they thought they were still in the game."
Wellsville is scheduled to play Monday night at local-rival Beaver Local. East Liverpool's next game is Wednesday at home against Youngstown Christian.
"I saw their girls step up," Dingey said. "They are very athletic. They are going to do well this year. I want to congratulate the girls on how hard they played.