WESTFIELD TWP. — Friday could have been the start of something big for Austin White.
The sophomore put forth an outstanding all-around performance and led the Wadsworth boys basketball team to a 67-44 Suburban League victory over rival Cloverleaf.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound small forward finished with career highs of 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists, four steals and five blocks as the Grizzlies (1-1, 1-0) led 41-22 at halftime and were never seriously threatened by the turnover-prone Colts (1-2, 0-1).
“Coming out with the first Suburban League game, we wanted to start off with a big note,” said White, who was 7-of-14 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. “We’re 1-0 in the Suburban League, and we want to get the SLT.”
While White wasn’t much of a factor early after completing a three-point play just 4 seconds into the game, he got hot in the second quarter and things starting snowballing in a hurry.
White drilled a 3-pointer to put Wadsworth up 24-11 early in the quarter. He added four points in the heart of it, and later pushed the Grizzlies’ advantage to 38-18 with another trifecta with 1:55 left in the half.
Though Cloverleaf never made anything that resembled a comeback, White had eight points, two assists and three steals in the second half — not to mention three impressive blocks in a 3-minute span.
“He’s phenomenal,” power forward Kyle Prunty said. “He shot lights out tonight — he always does — and I expect nothing less out of him.”
As White was doing his thing, Prunty (career-high 13 points, 13 rebounds) and fellow 6-5 post Nathan Pound (11, 7) controlled the glass.
Many of their rebounds resulted in putbacks, and Pound added four steals and two blocks to his stat line to follow up on a heady performance in a season-opening loss to Firestone.
“We’re prepared for this — Coach (Mike Schmeltzer Jr.) put us through a lot of workouts,” Prunty said. “Nate and I are a dynamic duo and we work hard together.”
Cloverleaf committed 11 turnovers in the first quarter and couldn’t contain White, Prunty and Pound from rebounding at will in the second.
The Colts also shot 15-of-50 from the floor overall and had no offense outside of power forward Robby Buckwald (17 points, 5 steals), who scored 12 of their 22 second-half points.
Guard Cliff Collyer added nine points, six rebounds and four assists, but Cloverleaf’s 26 total turnovers were too much to overcome.
“We didn’t handle pressure and it kept us out of our offense,” coach Marty Ryan said. “Their bigs did a nice job with the boards. We just weren’t getting many rebounds.”
|Former Cloverleaf center Kori Davis was one of three people to make half-court shots at halftime.l Joel Kipfer had 15 points to lead Wadsworth’s junior varsity to a 60-29 victory. Braedon Hansen had nine for the Colts.|
Wadsworth 67, Cloverleaf 44
WADSWORTH 19 22 15 11 — 67
CLOVERLEAF 11 11 8 14 — 44
Wadsworth — Austin White 7-4-21, Kyle Prunty 4-5-13, Nathan Pound 3-5-11, Anthony Palecek 1-0-3, Patrick Long 1-1-4, Tony Hogan 2-1-5, Barry Fernholz 0-0-0, Jimmy Elchlinger 2-0-4, Eric Perebzak 1-2-4, Ryan Sheppard 0-0-0, Martice Jackson 1-0-2, Dylan Galford 0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-18-67.
Cloverleaf — Brandt Buckholz 0-0-0, Robby Buckwald 6-3-17, Jayson Sykora 1-0-2, Adam Podolak 2-1-5, Cliff Collyer 4-1-9, Ryan O’Callaghan 1-0-2, Connor Ploucha 0-0-0, Tom Wangler 0-2-2, Bishop Woodall 0-4-4, Brandon Johnson 1-1-3. TOTALS: 15-12-44.
3-point goals — White 3, Long, Palecek, Buckwald 2. Rebounds — Wadsworth 49 (Prunty 13), Cloverleaf 31 (Podolak 8). Assists — Wadsworth 13 (Palecek 4). Records — Wadsworth (1-1, 1-0), Cloverleaf (1-2, 0-1). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 60, Cloverleaf 29.