WESTFIELD TWP. — In a non-league game that had the feel of the postseason, the Buckeye girls basketball team turned up the heat and burned Cloverleaf 56-49.
The victory Monday snapped a 12-game losing streak against the Colts (0-2) that dated to Jan. 4, 2006 (47-44).
“It was really an effort where the kids came out at halftime and said, ‘We have to play better defense as a team,”’ Clady said. “That’s really what we did.”
Clady was being a bit modest, as the Bucks (1-1) went into halftime down 32-24.
Things changed drastically behind Grace Allen (18 points, 9 rebounds), Madison Ross (12 points) and Gabby Glancy (10 points, 5 assists) when Buckeye increased its intensity in the third quarter.
Cloverleaf committed 14 turnovers and shot 4-for-13 (.308) in the period, allowing the Bucks to take a lead for the first time since the first quarter.
“We brought zero energy into the second half,” Colts coach John Carmigiano said. “When we had an opportunity to put the game away and establish that we weren’t going to lose, it’s a tough lesson to learn. They got the momentum.”
That momentum exploded after the break, as Buckeye went on a 12-2 run to take a 36-34 lead with 4:21 left in the third.
While Cloverleaf was able to tie twice, the Bucks looked to Allen and she responded with an 8-for-13 performance.
“She’s worked hard all summer and all year,” Clady said. “She knew she wasn’t playing to her capability. She’ll be frustrated, but she’ll work really hard, and she’s a really smart basketball player. She knows what to do and she led this group tonight.”
Her effort offset yet another solid performance by Cloverleaf center Mckenna Jordan, who led the team in points (21) and assists (3) and had eight rebounds. Maddie Boltz added 12 points.
Boltz trimmed the score to 51-49 with one minute remaining and Cloverleaf forced Allen to turn the ball over 16 seconds later, but two missed shots by Jordan and rebounds from Sydney Bell and Ross put the Bucks on the line, where they iced the game.
“It really was a mentality thing,” Allen said. “We said, ‘OK, guys, we have to go back out there with confidence.’ This was our game. Since Coach (Clady) has been here, he hasn’t beaten Cloverleaf. He got in the locker room, and we hyped each other up.
“When we start off strong, we tend to have stronger games. Sometimes it gets in our heads, but that’s something we’re working on as a team.”
On the flip side, the Colts shot 6-for-27 (.222) and committed 17 turnovers in the second half to put the kybosh on evening its record.
“We just came out of the locker room and didn’t have any energy,” Jordan said. “We felt comfortable with the lead we had. They stepped it up and brought it. … We turned it over and they converted.”
The Buckeye junior varsity won 53-20 behind Haylee Roach’s 20 points. Gabby Roll led the Colts with eight.
Buckeye 56, Cloverleaf 49
BUCKEYE 11 13 21 11 — 56
CLOVERLEAF 13 19 9 8 — 49
Buckeye — Madison Ross 3-6-12, Elizabeth Whetstone 2-3-7, Grace Allen 8-2-18, Tatum Widenmeyer 2-0-6, Gabby Glancy 2-4-10, Sydney Bell 1-0-2, Alyssa Beckett 0-0-0, Riley Vickerts 0-1-1. TOTALS: 18-16-56.
Cloverleaf — Jamie Oliver 2-0-4, Tori Smith 3-0-6, McKenna Jordan 6-9-21, Maddie Boltz 4-3-12, Cameron Tripp 0-0-0, Bailey Freeland 0-2-2, Sarasa Sivapatham 1-0-2, Megan Scheck. 1-0-2. TOTALS: 17-14-49.
3-point goals — Glancy 2, Widenmeyer 2, Boltz. Rebounds — Buckeye 26 (Allen 9), Cloverleaf 27 (Smith 10). Assists — Buckeye 13 (Whetstone, Glancy 5), Cloverleaf 15 (Oliver, Jordan, Boltz 3). Records — Buckeye (1-1), Cloverleaf (0-2). Junior varsity — Buckeye 53, Cloverleaf 20.