CRESTLINE — As far as dress rehearsals go for the Cloverleaf boys basketball team, this one needed work.
With the postseason sitting less than a week away, Colts coach Jack Banks wanted to simulate a sectional opener as best he could by sending Cloverleaf to Crestline for a non-league game.
While the Colts got the first act right Wednesday, Act II didn’t go as planned and the Bulldogs pulled out a 66-50 win.
The 55-minute drive is 10 minutes longer than the trip Cloverleaf (7-14) will take next week to open the North Ridgeville Division II Sectional at Padua Franciscan.
“I did some research on these guys and knew they were a close-knit community,” Banks said. “I knew it was going to be crazy. I knew that they have a lot of fans, and the student body is crazy. We tried to replicate that for Tuesday. We need to be able to handle a lot of pressure. The other thing is we need to make some shots.”
The first two quarters went exactly as Banks planned, as the Colts blitzed the Bulldogs (9-12) and took a 32-29 lead into intermission.
Then the bottom fell out, as only Joe Rohde (10 points, 4 assists) scored in an eight-point third quarter in which Cloverleaf shot 3-for-10 and doubled its turnover output with nine.
Nursing a two-point lead with 5:21 remaining in the third quarter, the Colts watched as Crestline cranked up the pressure and scored 32 of the final 46 points.
“We need to focus up and be ready to play when we show up,” Rohde said. “We have to start off strong and continue to play strong. We need to be ready to play the whole game.
“We went into halftime feeling pretty well and then came out thinking we would keep going with it. We didn’t press hard, and they kept going at us instead of us going at them. They pushed back more than we expected, and we never collected ourselves.”
While Brycen Holliday (11 points), Tanko (10), Rhode and Cruz Severson (9) were solid, Cloverleaf had no answer for Max Anatra (14 points), Zach Gregory (11 points) and especially Davon Triplett (20 points, 6 rebounds) off the bench.
Every time it looked like the Colts were going to close the gap, the 6-foot-5 Triplett rose up with one of his three dunks, including an alley-oop from Anatra to highlight an 8-0 run in the third quarter.
“That kid’s a monster,” Banks said. “He’s probably the best guy I’ve seen. We’ve got some guys in the Portage Trail Conference, but I don’t think anybody can get up like that guy. I’ve watched film and he’s dunking on kids in traffic. Kudos to them that he’s got another year.”
- Instead of honoring the 12th-graders only from basketball and cheerleading on senior night, Crestline honored seniors from every winter sport. The ceremony before the varsity basketball game took 23 minutes, making for an 8:12 p.m. tipoff.
One referee joked, “My daughter graduates in May,” so they made it just under the wire.
- The Crestline junior varsity cruised to a 53-39 win. Blake Wilson led Cloverleaf with 13 points.
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.
Crestline 66, Cloverleaf 50
CLOVERLEAF 19 13 8 10 — 50
CRESTLINE 13 16 19 18 — 66
Cloverleaf — Joe Rohde 4-2-10, Nick Bailey 2-0-4, Skylar Jones 2-0-4, Brycen Holliday 4-2-11, Cruz Severson 3-2-9, Matthew Tanko 4-0-10, Jeremy Cottrell 0-0-0, Tyler Webb 0-1-1, Matt Price 0-1-1, Drew Shreck 0-0-0, Alex Leonard 0-0-0, Blake Wilson 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-8-50.
Crestline — Hunter Trent 1-0-2, Destin Chatman 1-1-3, Zach Gregory 1-2-4, Gavin Balliett 2-0-4, Kevin Winkler 0-0-0, Ty Clark 4-3-11, Bailey Wollard 0-0-0, Max Anatra 3-7-14, Davon Triplett 9-2-20, Kaden Ronk 2-0-6, A.J. Watkins 0-0-0, Caleb Hoskins 1-0-2. TOTALS: 24-15-66.
3-point goals — Tanko 2, Holliday, Severson, Ronk 2, Anatra. Rebounds — Cloverleaf 25 (Severson 5), Crestline 27 (Clark 8). Assists — Cloverleaf 7 (Rohde 4), Crestline 14 (Winkler 4). Records — Cloverleaf (7-14), Crestline (9-12). Junior varsity — Crestline 53, Cloverleaf 39.