By TODD BELL
CANTON -- After defeating Boardman High earlier this season, the East Liverpool Potters handled the task again, this time in a sectional semifinal game at the Memorial Civic Center, 70-58, on Wednesday night.
The Potters (15-6) play Massillon Perry Saturday in a sectional final.
East Liverpool entered the game as the second-seeded team, but Boardman set the tempo early. Trailing 6-5, the Spartans (12-9) scored the last six points of the first quarter to take an 11-6 lead.
The Potters, who had an 11-day layoff, didn't get it going until the second period when they hit seven of their first 10 shots to take a 24-16 lead.
"I think that layoff hurt us," East Liverpool Coach Nick Aloi said. "We were getting stir crazy and frustrated at practice."
Good shooting: The Potters shot 60 percent from the field over the final three quarters.
"We started out tentative," Boardman coach Dan Gorski said. "We might have been a little bit nervous. With the exception of Mike Finamore, guys were playing on the this floor for the first time."
Two late 3s by Finamore, who scored a team-high 16 points, kept the Spartans in the game as they trailed 29-22 at the break.
Sophomore Jay Davis, who scored 12 points, and Finamore combined to score the first eight points of the third quarter, and suddenly Boardman held a 30-29 advantage just 1:34 in. The Potters used a time-out, and regained control.
Bounced back: "A key tonight was when we lost our seven-point lead after they scored eight unanswered points," Aloi said. "We kept our composure and built it back up again."
East Liverpool's Shawn Walton was a big reason for the Potters' surge. The 6-foot-4 senior scored 10 of his 16 points over the final six minutes of the quarter. Walton added a game-high 12 rebounds.
Got inside: "Their penetration got to us," Gorski said. "We told our guys, don't let them beat you to the basket. Scales, Green and Reed are all good getting to the hole, and when you give help, they have somebody on the block waiting for it."
East Liverpool senior Brett Green scored 22 points, while junior Josh Reed added 14, including two 3-pointers.