EAST LIVERPOOL - Fans of the Potters are used to seeing standout performances take place inside the friendly confines of Potter Fieldhouse.
What made Tuesday night's performance different was that it was delivered by a Quaker. Ryan Bush scored a career-high 38 points leading Salem to a 69-54 victory over East Liverpool.
With the win, the Quakers remain perfect on the season at 5-0. The loss drops the Potters to 2-7. East Liverpool has lost its last two games after recording a two-game winning streak.
"He made some big 3s when we needed it," Salem head coach Rich Hart said about Bush's performance. "He answered the bell for us. He was hot tonight. He hit some big shots for us. He set a new-career high tonight. His old career high was 31 points. That's big."
Bush had a chance to score 40, but his shot in the final seconds of the game bounced off of the backboard.
"They are a good ball team," East Liverpool head coach Nate Conley said.
SALEM: 17 16 21 15 - 69
EAST LIVERPOOL: 9 12 19 14 - 54
SALEM SCORING: Ryan Bush 14-5-38, Austin Frank 0-0-0, Mike Madison 0-0-0, Zack Wukotich 2-2-6, Brendan Webb 3-0-7, Zach Economous 1-0-3, Max Wolfgang 3-1-7, Anthony Shivers 3-2-8. TEAM TOTALS: 26, 10-17, 69.
EAST LIVERPOOL SCORING: D.J. Austin 2-0-5, Hayden Cunningham 5-5-17, Kade Reynolds 0-2-2, Austin Emmerling 1-0-2, Derek Thompson 5-5-15, Owen Crawford 1-2-5, Rian Burson 2-0-4, Aaron Long 2-0-4. TEAM TOTALS: 18, 14-18, 54.
THREE POINTERS: Salem 7 (Bush 5, Webb, Economous), East Liverpool 4 (Cunningham 2, Austin, Crawford).
"Bush was hot for them."
The Quakers led by as many as 18 points in the game en route to avenging last season's loss at Salem.
"We have good kids," Hart said. "They play hard. Most of them have played for three years. It is a combination of a lot of things. We have a good amount of experience. We have gotten off to a good start."
Bush, who finished the game with five 3-pointers and three dunks, was the lone Quaker to score in double digits in the game. Anthony Shivers scored eight points, Brendan Webb and Max Wolfgang each netted seven points and Zack Wukotich chipped in with six points.
Hayden Cunningham contributed a team-high 17 points for the Potters, and Derek Thompson tallied 15 points.
Despite the loss, East Liverpool outrebounded Salem, 35-27. Burson pulled down eight rebounds for the Potters. Bush and Shivers each grabbed seven rebounds for the Quakers.
The Quakers got off to a fast start and lead almost from start to finish. The beginning of the game was just a sign of what was to come the rest of the way. Bush opened the game with a rare four-point play, and he followed that up with another bucket to make the score 6-0.
The Potters battled back, and a 3-pointer by Cunningham pulled East Liverpool to with 10-9. Salem responded to score the final seven points of the quarter giving the Quakers a 17-9 advantage after the first quarter.
The Potters got hot and battled back early in the second stanza. East Liverpool scored the first eight points of the frame to tie the score at 17, forcing Hart to call a timeout with 4:55 showing on the clock.
The rest of the quarter and the rest of the game belonged to the Quakers. Salem responded with a 16-2 spurt to go up 33-19. The visitors led 33-19 at halftime.
The Quakers extended their lead in the third quarter. A basket by Bush put Salem up 42-25 forcing Conley to call a timeout with 5:19 left to play in the quarter. At that point, Bush had scored as many points as the Potters.
The Potters were down, but they were not out. East Liverpool scored nine quick points on 3-pointers by Cunningham and Austin, and Thompson converted a three-point play to pull the hosts to within 44-34 with 3:30 showing on the clock.
The Potters had the momentum, but it did not last long. A 3-pointer by Bush made the score 49-34, and Salem led 54-40 after three quarters of play.
"East Liverpool had two or three runs in the game, and we showed a lot of character," Hart said. "We battled back. We had to deal with some adversity because of foul trouble, but we were able to overcome it. Austin Frank and Zack Wukotich came off the bench and did really well for us. Our kids took some punches but they bounced back."
In the fourth quarter, the Potters got as close as 10 points (54-44) before the Quakers built the lead back up. Salem eventually led 65-47 following a pair of free throws by Bush.
East Liverpool won the JV game, 57-44. Three players scored in double digits to lead the way for the Potters. Zack Adkins scored a game-high 17 points, and Chris Mackey and Joey Bickerton each netted 10. Ryan Hoover recorded 12 points to lead the way for the Quakers.
Salem's next game is Friday at Minerva. While the Quakers will be back in action this week against the Lions, the Potters will have more than a week off before participating in the team's annual holiday tournament.