COVENTRY TWP. — Cloverleaf’s Jack Banks coaches at one speed.
The veteran boys basketball mentor ran the coach’s box so much last season he blew out a Fitbit. Banks averages two sets of penny loafers a season as he paces the sideline, obstructing the view of many players, assistant coaches and spectators.
Assistants looked between elbows, around shoulders and through legs Tuesday as Banks ran the floor almost as much as his Colts in a 56-47 Portage Trail Conference Metro Division win at Coventry.
“Last year, I had a Fitbit and I broke the band,” Banks said. “I’m a pacer, and I know it. One game last year, I had over 10,000 steps.”
Every one of them has made Cloverleaf (9-5, 5-3) a better team. The Colts, who are tied for their most wins since 2007-08, sit in the midst of a three-game winning streak and have won 7-of-8.
“That’s the only way I do it,” Banks said. “I was a son of a gun when I played in high school and in college. I played at Rio Grande, and then I also played junior college at Tri-C.
“You couldn’t shut me up. This is just an extension of where I feel like I’m on the court with those guys. It’s crazy. We’re growing up. I love the way the kids are responding to it. They’re accepting the challenge.”
While Brycen Holliday (14 points, 8 rebounds) and Sylar Jones (14, 10) said they don’t hear everything, they know the team has grown leaps and bounds.
“You want to hear it all, especially if he’s calling plays,” Jones said. “Sometimes in the heat of the moment, the gym is loud and sometimes players miss calls he makes, but you always want to be listening to what he says. Like he says, he’s always the loudest guy in the gym. You better hear him.
“He completely cares. He might even care more than us. He brings in new drills at practice every week. He tries to bring new plays in. We’re in the middle of the season and he’s working harder than he ever has. If that doesn’t show he cares, I don’t know what else does.”
The caring has been reciprocated tenfold by the Colts, who put together yet another impressive performance.
Cloverleaf finished with a 40-22 edge on the boards, as Nick Bailey (6 rebounds), Nate Riley (6), Cruz Severson (5) and Matt Tanko (5) made sure the Comets (5-6, 4-4) were one-and-done on the offensive end.
“We want to win more than anything out here,” Holliday said. “This is all we do. We’re changing things out here. I thought we all played very unselfish, getting baskets off cuts. We had great passing. It was a great team effort.”
That effort kept Jaret Griffith (18 points) at bay for the most part, as the senior needed 16 shots to get his points.
The Colts held Coventry to 17-for-50 from the floor, including a scoreless stretch of 5:29.
“It’s just chemistry,” Holliday said. “We’re figuring each other out and working hard. It’s crazy fun. It feels good to have our hard work pay off, but this is just the beginning.”
The Coventry junior varsity erased a six-point deficit to start the fourth and beat Cloverleaf 52-39. Colton Doss led the Colts with 13 points. Colin Andel added 12.
Cloverleaf 56, Coventry 47
CLOVERLEAF 12 12 17 15 — 56
COVENTRY 10 7 12 18 — 47
Cloverleaf — Nate Riley 5-1-11, Nick Bailey 2-1-5, Sylar Jones 6-2-14, Brycen Holliday 5-3-14, Cruz Severson 1-1-3, Matt Tanko 3-0-7, Tyler Webb 1-0-2. TOTALS: 23-8-56.
Coventry — Cody Juersivich 1-0-3, Devin Pauley 1-0-2, LaNeer Surles 5-1-11, Jaret Griffith 7-3-18, Ronnie Thompson 4-0-11, Lane Boyer 0-0-0, Lucas Wagner 0-0-0, LaGreer Surles 1-0-2, Trevoun Bulls 0-0-0, Cameron Ray 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-4-47.
3-point goals — Holliday, Tanko Thompson 3, Juersivich, Griffith. Rebounds — Cloverleaf 40 (Jones 10), Coventry 22 (Lan. Surles 7). Assists — Cloverleaf 17( Severson 7), Coventry 9 (Thompson 4). Records — Cloverleaf (9-5, 5-3), Coventry (5-6, 4-4). Junior varsity — Coventry 53, Cloverleaf 39.