WESTFIELD TWP. — The Cloverleaf boys basketball team battled Coventry, but the Comets streaked by in the second half Friday for a 64-40 Portage Trail Conference Metro Division victory.
After surrendering 75 points in the first meeting against the Comets (7-5, 5-2), the Colts (4-7, 2-5) restricted them to 24 in the first half and trailed 32-21 midway through the third quarter, using a 2-3 zone that successfully limited the post presence of senior center Sam Vanadia.
However, looking to make an aggressive move to go for the win, Cloverleaf switched to pressure. The Comets took advantage, scoring 32 points in the last 11 minutes.
“If I wanted to have a moral victory, I probably could have sat in that zone and held them to 50 points, but we took some chances trying to win the game,” Colts coach Jack Banks said. “I’m not going to sit back against anyone. I thought we played as good as we could have in the first half.”
Vanadia led the Comets with eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to go with nine rebounds. Junior forward Jammond Hogg worked off the double teams of Vanadia for a game-high 20 points.
“Our focus defensively was to make sure there were two men on (Vanadia),” said Cloverleaf’s Joe Rohde, who had a team-high 12 points. “And making sure we guarded their 3-point shooters.”
The Comets took the lead for good on a unique five-point play with 19 seconds left in the first quarter. Junior guard Micah Wallace hit a bucket and drew a foul for a three-point play. Colts guard Brycen Holliday was called for a technical, giving Wallace two more foul shots for a 15-11 lead.
After taking the lead at 11-10, the Colts were scoreless for the next four minutes before freshman Nate Riley sank a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 20-13. Cloverleaf junior Nick Bailey scored on the next possession to cut the deficit to five.
Cloverleaf went the final five minutes of the second quarter and the first three minutes of the third without making a shot. In those eight minutes, the Comets went on a decisive 12-4 run to take a 32-19 lead.
Holliday snapped the streak with a fastbreak layup. The sophomore led the Colts with eight second-half points to finish with 10.
“Any time you have a young team like this, going into the third quarter those first three or four minutes are really big,” Banks said. “With a young team, we aren’t up for that challenge yet. As the kids get more mature, I think the future is bright for us, but right now we have to take some lumps. This is one of them and we’ll learn from it.”
Contact John Urchek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coventry 64, Cloverleaf 40
COVENTRY 15 9 18 22 — 64
CLOVERLEAF 11 5 11 13 — 40
Coventry — Micah Wallace 5-3-16, Jammond Hogg 9-2-20, Sam Vanadia 7-0-14, Jayson Wagner 1-1-4, Nate Skaggs 1-1-4, Wyatt Stover 0-0-0, Cody Juersivich 0-1-1, Lane Boyer 1-0-3, Treon Sibley 1-0-2, C.J. Zittle 0-0-0, Brian Roscoe 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-8-64.
Cloverleaf — Nick Bailey 2-1-5, Brycen Holliday 4-1-10, Sylar Jones 1-1-3, Joe Rohde 4-3-12, Cruz Severson 2-0-5, Tyler Webb 1-1-3, Nate Riley 0-2-2, Matt Tanko 0-0-0, Jeremy Cottrell 0-0-0. TOTALS: 14-9-40.
3-point goals — Wallace 3, Wagner, Skaggs, Boyer, Holliday, Severson, Rohde. Rebounds — Coventry 32 (Vanadia 9), Cloverleaf 22 (Severson, Rohde 6). Records — Coventry (7-5, 5-2), Cloverleaf (4-7, 2-5). Junior varsity — Coventry 62, Cloverleaf 19.