YOUNGSTOWN East Liverpool stops Rayen again
The game was halted for nearly 30 minutes due to an injury.
By BOB ROTH
YOUNGSTOWN -- Roosevelt Kirby and Brian Kreefer combined for 39 points as the East Liverpool High basketball team defeated Rayen School 80-67 Friday at Lindsey Fieldhouse.
The Potters led 71-47 in the fourth quarter when the game was stopped due to an injury to Rayen senior Leon Brock.
Brock, Rayen's second-leading scorer with 13 points, was extending himself in the air in pursuit of a loose ball when he crashed to the floor and was motionless for nearly 30 minutes.
When an ambulance arrived more than 20 minutes later, Brock was carried off to the applause of the crowd.
The Tigers (2-12), seemingly inspired by their fallen player, went on an 11-2 run and twice closed the gap to 10 points.
In the first quarter, Rayen rallied from a 10-point deficit to tie the score, but the two times in the fourth period when the Tigers tried to rally, East Liverpool coach Nick Aloi called timeout to steady his team.
"We had a good start, but they kept coming back on us," Aloi said. "After the injury to Brock, they really gained momentum, but we kept our poise."
Kirby, a 6-4 senior, scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and Kreefer, the 6-6 sophomore, had 19 points and 10 more boards.
"With them fronting me," Kreffer said, "I tried to get my man on my hip and I was able to get open down low where Josh Reed and Scott Scales [five assists] found me with good passes."
Justin Campbell added 15 points for the Potters.
The game's top scorer was Rayen senior guard Jamal Higgs with 25 points, 19 in the second half and 10 in the final quarter.
Rayen's Jabray Graham grabbed 10 rebounds as the Tigers lost to East Liverpool for the second time this season. The first defeat, 67-63, came Dec. 27 in the Potter Holiday Classic.
In that game, Rayen was 6-of-8 from the foul line, while East Liverpool was 24-of-32.
On Friday, the Potters were 13-of-21 and Rayen was 4-of-9.
"We had too many mistakes," Rayen coach Phil House said. "There were a series of errors that put us in a hole. Although we had opportunities and fought back, we were unable to recover and it is apparent that we need to be more focused."
East Liverpool (12-5) broke away from a 16-16 tie at the end of the first quarter with a 13-2 run, taking the Potters to a 36-23 halftime lead.
Reed's 3-pointer with 7:12 left in the second quarter gave East Liverpool a 19-16 advantage, and it was the final lead change of the game.
Reed finished the game with 16 points, six assists and four steals as East Liverpool, with excellent shooting from the field, extended its lead to 60-40 after three quarters.