WESTFIELD TWP. — Prepare to hear The Brothers Johnson blaring on the speakers at future Cloverleaf boys basketball games.
Feel free to be confused at this point.
Here’s the deal: For two home games in a row now, the players have forgotten their pregame warm-up mix. Always-prepared athletic director Craig Walkup’s backup plan has been an early 1980s soundtrack featuring the song “Stomp!”
Figure this one out: Cloverleaf has now won both games after taking care of Ravenna Southeast 52-47 in a non-league doozy Tuesday that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score.
Afterward in the locker room, the growing-quickly Colts (2-10) felt they were “gonna stomp all night” and “party ’til the morning light.”
Cloverleaf had won only 10 of its previous 61 home games since its last winning streak at “The Corral” in December 2010.
“Oh, my gosh, man. It’s so fun,” freshman point guard Brycen Holliday said. “Every time we get a win, we all do a giant mosh pit. It feels good to get that win.”
While a 44-37 victory over Ravenna last week was about simply holding on, Tuesday was executing and finishing strong. The Colts looked like veterans when crunch time arrived — save for six turnovers — and made 5-of-5 field goals and 13-of-19 free throws in the fourth quarter.
Leading the way were freshmen Holliday and Sylar Jones, as Holliday made 8-of-8 free throws and drove to the rim for a layup. Jones added six points in the period, as did senior Tyler Kapeluck.
Cloverleaf was clinging to a 29-26 lead early in the fourth, but Kapeluck scored and the Colts were in the bonus soon after. Cloverleaf remained patient and didn’t panic when one of coach Jack Banks’ myriad sets wasn’t open, but the Pirates (1-10), who have lost 10 straight, helped with a bunch of fouls.
When the dust settled, the Colts led 44-31 after a 15-5 run. Southeast then ridiculously made four straight 3-pointers in the final minute to keep a glimmer of hope, but Holliday coolly nailed four more freebies.
“They did a lot of growing up today,” Banks said as his players continued hootin’ and hollerin’.
Holliday scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half, including seven in the third quarter to help Cloverleaf maintain the slight lead it took into the locker room at halftime. Jones added 11 points and had three points and five rebounds in an ugly second quarter the Colts won 10-4.
Kapeluck overcome a slow start to finish with nine points and a game-high four assists, but more impressively Cloverleaf, which trailed 7-1, played confidently on offense and got a handful of backdoor cuts for layups and both its 3-pointers off double screens.
The Colts flashed a big glimmer of what they hope to become, shooting 16-for-32 overall, 18-for-25 from the foul line and 4-for-11 from 3-point range. They also forced 18 turnovers and held the Pirates to 1-for-12 shooting in the second period.
While the game wasn’t a work of art — Southeast imploded shortly after 5-foot-3 point guard Eric Lough picked up his fourth foul with 3 minutes left in the third quarter — that didn’t matter to Cloverleaf.
The Colts are expecting to win, and while the upcoming schedule is brutal with Streetsboro (6-4, 5-1), Coventry (7-3, 4-2), Norton (6-5, 4-2) and Woodridge (11-0, 6-0), when was the last time anyone said that?
“We all just played our hearts out,” Holliday said. “That’s all there is to it.
“We’re all just buying into our coach’s system, and we’re getting more comfortable with how he wants us to play the game and how we need to play the game to win.”
Robert Rivera and Nick Bailey each had 10 points as Cloverleaf’s junior varsity lost 51-45.
Contact Albert Grindle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cloverleaf 52, Southeast 47
SOUTHEAST 11 4 9 23 — 47
CLOVERLEAF 8 10 11 23 — 52
Southeast — Tommy Dailey 2-2-7, Brady Deremer 2-0-4, Ben Prather 2-0-4, Jordan Scott 4-2-12, Eric Lough 1-0-3, Camden Proctor 5-0-13, Avery Munger 1-2-4, Tim Exline 0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-6-47.
Cloverleaf — Travis Hissom 1-2-4, Joe Rohde 2-2-6, Sylar Jones 3-5-11, Tyler Kapeluck 4-1-9, Brycen Holliday 5-8-19, Ryan Gutschow 0-0-0, Matt Tankow 1-0-3, Dillon Peterson 0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-18-52.
3-point goals — Proctor 3,Scott 2, Lough, Dailey, Holliday, Tankow. Rebounds — Southeast 21 (Prather 7), Cloverleaf 24 (Jones 8). Assists — Southeast 9 (Dailey 5), Cloverleaf 8 (Kapeluck 4). Records — Southeast (1-10), Cloverleaf (2-10). Junior varsity — Southeast 51, Cloverleaf 45.