EYLRIA — Padua Franciscan and Buckeye felt the wrath of young women scorned. If Cloverleaf’s girls basketball team has things its way, Bay is next.
There was little the third-seeded Colts did wrong Monday in the first half of an Elyria Division II District semifinal. They played fast, physical and without fear, dominated the glass and punished the second-seeded Bucks in transition.
When the dust settled after a big cloud from role players Sarasa Sivapatham and Meagan Scheck, there was no doubt which was team was better on this night in what ended up a 53-39 final.
Cloverleaf (14-10) will return to Lorain County on Thursday to play top-seeded Bay, a 54-39 winner over No. 4 Holy Name, in a rematch of last season’s championship won 27-25 by the Rockets.
“It’s awesome that we can take revenge on Thursday,” said All-Gazette center Mckenna Jordan, whose squad lost to Buckeye 56-49 on Nov. 26. “Revenge Tour.
“We came with momentum and energy. I feel we had such heart, and we were not going out with a loss. We were coming here to win.”
Using primarily triangle-and-two on Bucks center Madison Ross and point guard Gabby Glancy but also mixing in man, 2-3 and 2-2-1, the Colts roared to a 30-12 halftime lead and never allowed the advantage to return to single digits.
Clearly playing with more confidence in the first half — the Bucks (20-4) were playing in their first district semi since 2005 — Cloverleaf shot 12-for-33, won the rebounding battle 27-14 and held Buckeye to putrid 5-for-29 shooting.
The key sequence came late, when Colt wings Maddie Boltz and Jenna Oliver were battling foul trouble and Jordan went to the bench. Backup Sivapatham, a 2.1-point scorer, sandwiched a transition layup and mid-range jumper around an on-the-block score from 0.9-point scorer Scheck that made the score 28-10 with 1:58 left before halftime.
The Colts’ lineup was a rare one: Cam Tripp, Bailey Freeland, Sivapatham, Scheck and Tori Smith.
“We gave it our best and we feel amazing right now,” Sivapatham said. “We wanted it so bad and we gave it our all. We wanted it more than them. You could tell.
“(That run) gave me more energy and it definitely gave (Scheck) energy, too. She was key to that.”
Without Buckeye standout Grace Allen (knee) to contend with, the 5-foot-11 Jordan imposed her will with 10 points, 21 rebounds, four steals and five blocks. Tripp (13 points) and Boltz (11) also reached double figures in one of the most balanced offensive nights of the season, while Smith contributed eight points, nine rebounds, six steals and four rejections.
The Bucks played with a sense of urgency in the second half but ultimately didn’t capitalize enough when the Colts committed six straight turnovers to begin the fourth quarter. Ross finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and three steals, while Glancy added five points and five thefts.
Even with a 5-for-13 fourth quarter, Buckeye finished 15-for-63 from the floor (.238).
“They were the aggressor on both ends of the floor and they were doing pretty much whatever they wanted on the glass (50-29),” said Buckeye coach Ron Clady, whose team won 20 games for the fourth time in school history (1991, 1999, 2000). “There were a lot of things we didn’t well, especially in the first half.”
Cloverleaf will play for a district title for the third time under coach John Carmigiano (2010, 2018) and improved its postseason record to 15-9 since 2009.
Tripp, Boltz, Jordan and Oliver played in the title game against Bay last season. One can guarantee they haven’t forgotten about it, but they made sure to take care of business first.
“The physicality of us setting our ground, it was telling them, ‘We’re here to win,”’ Jordan said. “We weren’t going to back down.”
Cloverleaf 53, Buckeye 39
Elyria Division II District Semifinal
CLOVERLEAF 12 18 10 13 — 53
BUCKEYE 5 7 11 16 — 39
Cloverleaf — Jenna Oliver 0-1-1, Tori Smith 3-2-8, Mckenna Jordan 3-3-10, Maddie Boltz 4-3-11, Cam Tripp 3-7-13, Bailey Freeland 0-0-0, Sarasa Sivapatham 4-0-8, Meagan Scheck 1-0-2, McKenna Fast 0-0-0. TOTALS: 18-16-53.
Buckeye — Elizabeth Whetstone 4-0-10, Sydney Bell 2-0-4, Madison Ross 4-2-11, Tatum Widenmeyer 1-0-3, Gabby Glancy 1-3-5, Alyssa Beckett 0-0-0, Autumn Meyer 1-0-2, Courtney Keeler 2-0-4. TOTALS: 15-5-39.
3-point goals — Jordan, Whetstone 2, Ross, Widenmeyer. Rebounds — Cloverleaf 50 (Jordan 21), Buckeye 29 (Ross 8). Assists — Cloverleaf 8 (Oliver, Jordan, Boltz 2), Buckeye 9 (Beckett, Bell 2). Records — Cloverleaf (14-10), Buckeye (20-4).