MECHANICSBURG – West Liberty-Salem locked down Mechanicsburg and cruised to a 66-24 victory in Ohio Heritage Conference boys basketball Friday night.
A flurry of turnovers by both squads led to an 11-11 tie after a quarter of play, but the Indians mustered only three points in the second quarter and trailed, 30-14, going into the half.
“Right now, we struggle when we’re pressured. We’re not making the right decisions. We’re too much in a hurry and we don’t do things we practice every day,” MHS Coach Tyler Craig said. “And because of that, bad things happen. We just have to go a lot harder in practice.”
The lead grew again after intermission, with another spurt of turnovers for the Indians and buckets for the Tigers.
“We wanted to play at a fast pace. The problem was that we couldn’t make the transition from playing fast on defense and we got careless with the ball. When we finally got winded a little bit, the defensive intensity maintained, but we were able to settle in offensively,” WL-S Coach Darrin Leichty said. “That’s as hard as a whole full game defensively since I’ve been here. If the defense can get them some easy baskets, that will be important.”
After three quarters, WL-S led, 52-19.
Craig wasn’t pleased with the outcome, but he was optimistic after the game.
“A lot of the things we’re doing and the mistakes we’re making are fixable. We’ll address that this week,” Craig said. “Even our freshmen and sophomores – they aren’t underclassmen anymore. They’ve been playing a lot of minutes. With that comes the expectation to do things better and the right way.”
For the Tigers, Neil Markin led the way with 17 points, Max Eggleston scored 10 and Tyler Louden added 9. Joey Mascadri had 9 points for the Indians.
“That’s the first game we’ve had everybody on the roster in a game,” Leichty said. “We’ve been banged up here even recently, but they’ve kinda battled back this week.”
West Liberty-Salem (4-4, 1-3 OHC) will host Graham on Tuesday, while Mechanicsburg (0-7) will face off with Ridgemont.
In the jayvee contest, WL-S won, 56-14. Eli McGill scored 11 points to lead the Tigers, while Alex Fitzpatrick and Tyler Jones scored 7 each. Colin Hartley had 6 points for Mechanicsburg.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.