IMPERIAL - The tide turned and the Potters lost the momentum en route to losing the game.
The Moon Area boys' basketball team outscored East Liverpool, 45-14, over the final 17 minutes or so of game time in recording a 63-37 victory in Game 1 of the Pennsylvania-Ohio Border Bash Friday night at West Allegheny High School.
The Potters led 23-18 with 1:16 to go in the first half, but the Tigers ended the half on an 8-0 run to take a 26-23 lead into the locker room. Moon outscored East Liverpool, 37-14 in the second half, including 16-1 in the fourth quarter.
East Liverpool’s Derek Thompson tries to get a shot over a Moon Area player Friday at West Allegheny High School. (Photo by Aaron Petchal)
With the loss, the Potters drop to 0-4 on the season. The Tigers are now 1-0.
"We're not running our stuff," East Liverpool coach Nate Conley said. "We were up by five, and then we went into the locker room down by three. The kids did not listen to what we wanted. I wanted us to hold for the final shot, and we come down and take a quick shot. We had a couple of turnovers.
"I should have called timeout. That was the first time we have been in that kind of situation. I don't blame the kids. I blame myself. I didn't have them prepared for that end of half situation. I should have called timeout."
Moon Area 63, East Liverpool 37
EL (37): D.J. Austin 0 2-2 2, Hayden Cunningham 4 3-4 12, Kade Reynolds 4 1-2 10, Austin Emmerling 0 0-1 0, Derek Thompson 2 0-0 4, Owen Crawford 2 2-3 6, Matt Hilditch 0 0-0 0, John Rickerd 0 1-2 1, Ryian Burson 0 0-0 0, Aaron Long 1 0-0 2.Totals: 13 9-14 37.
MA (63): Nick Korzi 9 2-3 23, Eric Elias 4 1-2 11, Chidi Ifedigbo 1 0-0 2, Tyler Crenshaw 5 0-0 10, Tim Martin 0 0-0 0, Kyle Bondi 3 0-0 7, Joe SiBeto 2 1-1 6, Latrell Davis 1 0-0 2, Niko Yoramus 1 0-0 2, Kevin Hanyo 0 0-0 0, Colt Hower 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 4-6 63.
EL 04-19-13-01 - 37
MA 13-13-21-16 - 63
3-Pointers: East Liverpool: 2 (Cunningham, Reynolds); Moon Area: 7 (Korzi 3, Elias 2, Bondi, SiBeto)
Two players scored in double digits for the Potters. Hayden Cunningham netted a team-high 12 points, and Kade Reynolds delivered 10.
Also for East Liverpool, Owen Crawford contributed six points, Derek Thompson ended up with four points and D.J. Austin and Aaron Long each collected two points. Finally, John Rickerd recorded one point.
Three players scored in double digits for the Tigers. Nick Korzi contributed a game-high 23 points to lead the way, Eric Elias scored 11 points and Tyler Crenshaw recorded 10 points.
"We got beat by a good 4A team," Conley said. "That team had no seniors last year. They are how we were last year."
Moon outrebounded East Liverpool, 27-21. Crenshaw pulled down seven rebounds to lead the Tigers. Thompson and Reynolds each had five rebounds for the Potters.
The Potters committed 25 turnovers in the game, while the Tigers committed 15.
"We had too many turnovers," Conley said. "We had too many unforced turnovers. We had too many forced turnovers. We had too many useless turnovers. We had too many empty possessions."
Moon scored the first six points of the game before Cunningham nailed a 3-pointer to put the Potters on the scoreboard. Korzi ended the frame with a three-point play to put the Tigers up 13-4 at the end of the quarter.
The Potters scored the first six points of the second stanza to pull within 13-9 forcing Moon to take a timeout with 6:30 left to play in the half. Later, a basket by Crenshaw put the Tigers up 18-13, but the Potters ripped off a 10-0 run to take a 23-18 lead with 1:16 left to play before halftime.
The Tigers took control of the game from that point.
In the third quarter, a 3-pointer by Elias put Moon up 41-27. The Potters countered with an 8-3 spurt to pull within 44-36 on a 3-pointer by Reynolds, but Korzi drained a 3-pointer of his own with 1.7 seconds left in the stanza to put the Tigers ahead 47-36 entering the fourth quarter.
"This is their first game of the year," Conley said. "I know some coaches from around here so I made some calls to find out about them."
In the fourth, the Tigers scored the first 16 points of the frame before Rickerd drained a foul shot with 36.1 seconds left to play in the game.
"We are so young and inexperienced," Conley said. "They were a real-young team last year. They got blown out in a lot of their games. This is a real good teaching tool. I told them that that could be us.
"We are going to get there, but it is going to take time. I never said it wasn't going to take time. It's going to take time and effort. We have some good athletes."
West Allegheny played Independence in Friday's nightcap.
East Liverpool will play West Allegheny at 3:30 p.m. today while Independence will play Moon.