Ignited by Chris Fiore, the Tigers rallied from a 55-55 tie to a 65-57 win in the second game of a doubleheader at Beeghly Center.
By BOB ROTH
YOUNGSTOWN -- In a contest which had 13 lead changes, 10 of the last 12 points scored were by George Jr. Republic, as the Tigers defeated East Liverpool 65-57 in the second game of a high school boys basketball doubleheader at Beeghly Center on Saturday.
Chris Fiore, who scored only two first half points, finished with 15, including a pair of free throws and a basket, breaking a 55-55 deadlock with 3 minutes, 21 seconds remaining.
Fiore scored with 2:36 to go to put George Junior (17-2) ahead 59-55, but 50 seconds later the Potters' Brett Green sank two free throws to cut the margin to 59-57.
The last six points of the game were scored by the Tigers; Tyrae Denmark had a basket and two free throws, and after an East Liverpool turnover, 6-foot-6 senior Benson Callier punctuated the victory with a slam dunk.
Had leads: The Potters (10-7) never trailed by more than six points until the final buzzer. They led 32-30 at the half and went out to a 36-30 lead at the start of the third quarter.
A 3-point goal by ELO's Brett Green at the outset of the fourth quarter broke a 47-all tie.
The Potters were led in scoring by a trio of players with 13 points each. Green, who also had seven rebounds and five steals, Roosevelt Kirby and Josh Reed.
Reed, a 6-2 guard, had a trio of 3-pointers to spark East Liverpool in the first half.
Misses, turnovers: "We played well most of the game, but there were a lot of good open shots missed and a few costly turnovers at the end," said East Liverpool coach Nick Aloi. "Our free throw shooting should have been better."
Callier led the Tigers with 20 points and Fiore, with the big second half, scored 15. Another 6-6 senior, Shaun Simpson, added 14 points.
Cannon White led George Junior with seven rebounds, and Shawn Walton came off the bench to pace East Liverpool with 10 caroms.
Bob McConnell, in his seventh season as coach at George Jr., wasn't happy with the way his team won.
"We showed up but we didn't take those guys seriously and it almost cost us the game," he said. "We were in a dogfight the whole way and the only reason we won is because of our overall talent."