WESTFIELD TWP. — Brycen Holliday, Joe Rohde and the rest of their Cloverleaf boys basketball teammates were probably still shooting free throws in their sleep Friday night.
In a game whose halves were as different as night and day, the Colts rolled to a 72-48 Portage Trail Conference Metro Division victory over Springfield.
Cloverleaf (5-11, 3-8) went from scoring 19 points in the first half to 53 in the second, largely because it went from attempting two free throws over the first two quarters to 42 over the last two.
“That’s crazy,” said forward Joe Rohde, who went 10-for-12 at the stripe en route to 24 points and four rebounds. “It was fun. They were hurting themselves and we were taking advantage of the calls. They gave us free opportunities, so we took advantage of it.”
Down 6-0 at the start and tied 7-7 after the first period, the Colts led the Spartans (2-12, 0-10) 19-11 after an extremely pedestrian first half.
Springfield tried to press to start the third period and promptly picked up eight fouls in the first 5:09 of the quarter, leading to 7-for-10 Cloverleaf shooting at the line and a 38-28 lead heading into the fourth.
Then things really got crazy.
The Colts went 26-for-32 at the line in a 34-point fourth period, with Holliday (18 points) going 8-for-9 in the quarter and 11-for-13 for the game. Rohde was 8-for-10 at the stripe in the fourth and fellow forward Nick Bailey was 4-for-6 in a 32-second span.
“We were just trying to take advantage of the fact we were in their heads a little bit,” Holliday said. “That’s all there was to it.”
At one point, the Colts took six free throws without any time coming off the clock. As Holliday was making 2-for-2, a foul was called on Springfield as his second attempt went through the hoop. That sent Bailey to the line for two more shots and led to a technical on Springfield coach Tim Cole.
Bailey split his pair and Holliday made two more, with Cloverleaf also getting the ball out of bounds. That led to another foul and two more free throws by Bailey, who hit them both to make the Colts 7-for-8 in 20 seconds of game action. That became 10 free throws in 32 seconds when Bailey went to the line for two more 12 seconds later.
The Spartans also got called for another foul and “T” later in the quarter, leading to four more Cloverleaf free throws with no time coming off the clock.
“They were gambling a lot and we were taking advantage of that and knocking shots down at the line,” Holliday said.
For the game, the Colts were 34-for-44 at the stripe, with another attempt disqualified due to a lane violation. Springfield was 14-for-23, including 8-for-12 in a never-ending fourth period that saw the teams combine to go 34-for-44.
Almost lost in all the fourth-quarter shenanigans — they weren’t the slightest bit Cloverleaf’s fault — was a phenomenal third period by 6-foot-5 sophomore center Sylar Jones, who had eight of his 10 points and three of his eight rebounds in the stanza.
“Sylar was the big man out there,” Rohde said. “He was bullying people around. He was just a man in the paint.”
The Colts also got four points, four boards and six assists from guard Cruz Severson, four points and four rebounds from Bailey and nice minutes from reserve Matt Tanko, who finished with two points, four boards and two assists.
“We try to play hard every game,” said Rohde, who actually scored 12 of his first 14 points from the field. “We don’t focus on if we’re the underdog or the better team. We just focus on getting more points than the other team.”
Those points came in bunches in the fourth period, when all but a couple of the fouls called on Springfield were obvious infractions.
“We all make sure not to underestimate anybody,” Holliday said. “Our mentality was to play our game and let the results fall where they may.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.
Cloverleaf 72, Springfield 48
SPRINGFIELD 7 4 17 20 — 48
CLOVERLEAF 7 12 19 34 — 72
Springfield — Shae Moles 1-1-4, Andrew Smith 3-2-8, Tyler Dawson 1-2-5, Tance Kline 3-0-9, Trevor Price 1-1-3, Joseph Coles 0-1-1, Zach Ickes 4-1-10, Noah Costantino 0-0-0, DeMone Riley 0-1-1, Bryce Baker 1-0-2, Shawn Terry 0-0-0, Brody Carpenter 0-0-0, Spencer Shannon 0-5-5, Jeff Wilson 0-0-0. TOTALS: 14-14-48.
Cloverleaf — Joe Rohde 7-10-24, Nick Bailey 0-4-4, Sylar Jones 4-2-10, Cruz Severson 1-1-4, Brycen Holliday 3-11-18, Matt Tanko 1-0-2, Tyler Webb 1-0-2, Jeremy Cottrell 0-4-4, Colin Andel 0-2-2, Logan Tierney 0-0-0, Alex Leonard 1-0-2. TOTALS: 18-34-72.
3-point goals — Kline 3, Dawson, Holliday, Severson. Rebounds — Springfield 21 (Smith 8), Cloverleaf 28 (Jones 8). Assists — Springfield 11 (Price 6), Cloverleaf 13 (Cruz 6). Records — Springfield (2-12, 0-10), Cloverleaf (5-11, 3-8). Junior varsity — Springfield 43, Cloverleaf 25.