WESTFIELD TWP. — The Cloverleaf boys basketball team dug itself a deep hole at the end of the first quarter against Green and failed to climb out of it in a 62-43 Suburban League loss Friday.
The Colts (1-6, 1-5) have struggled to start strong, and that remained true against the Bulldogs (6-0, 5-0). Cloverleaf scored zero field goals in the first quarter, receiving just two points on a pair of Robby Buckwald free throws.
“(The slow starts are) affecting us because we can’t catch back up,” coach Marty Ryan said. “We can’t dig a hole and then play even basketball. It just doesn’t work.
“I don’t know what is causing us to go out there and have a slow start. I can’t figure it out, and it’s driving me nuts.”
Buckwald finished the game with 11 points, but was in foul trouble for most of the game. He picked up his fourth foul with 6:13 left in the third quarter and was forced to sit the bench for an extended amount of time.
Buckwald sat out Tuesday’s loss to Highland with a sprained ankle.
“It hurts us when (Buckwald’s) not on the floor,” Ryan said. “We’ve struggled the past couple of games we haven’t had him out there. I think he’s going to get back in his groove and he’ll get on track, too.”
As a team, Cloverleaf had a tough time stopping the Bulldogs inside. The Colts were outrebounded 24-10 and committed 22 fouls, including eight in the first quarter alone.
Much of that was due to their inability to contain 6-foot-6 Dan Fanelly and 6-foot-8 Josh Pritchard.
Green went 13-of-20 from the free throw line stripe, with Fanelly contributed five of his season-low nine points from the stripe. Ryan switched to a 2-3 zone, forcing the Bulldogs to shoot from the outside.
It worked for awhile, but unfortunately for the Colts, Green’s outside shots were falling, too. Sophomore Austin Marciniak led the team with four 3-pointers and a career-high 19 points. The guard also contributed five rebounds.
“We always focus, ‘Locate the shooter. Locate the shooter,’ but the type of zone we ran, Green did a really nice job of picking it apart and finding the open man,” Ryan said. “They knew (Marciniak) had the hot hand. It looked like to me they did a good job by getting him the ball.”
The remaining 24 minutes were close, as Cloverleaf was only outscored 47-41. Behind this strong run was center Jayson Sykora, who contributed a career-high 14 points.
“(Jayson’s) really picking his game up and taking on the leadership role as a senior out there,” Ryan said. “He’s becoming one of the more consistent players on the floor for us, and today, he stepped it up another notch. He’s shown a lot of heart for us.”
|The Green junior varsity received a strong game from Daniel Stopp (11 points) in a 40-26 win. Cloverleaf’s Braedon Hansen scored nine points.|
Contact Matt Doyle at email@example.com.
Green 62, Cloverleaf 43
CLOVERLEAF 2 16 11 14 — 43
GREEN 15 18 12 17 — 62
Cloverleaf — Robby Buckwald 3-4-11, J.D. Schleich 1-1-3, Jayson Sykora 6-1-14, Brandon Johnson 2-0-5, Cliff Collyer 1-0-2, Adam Podolak 0-0-0, Bishop Woodall 0-2-2, Brandt Buckholz 1-1-3, Ryan O’Callaghan 1-0-3, Connor Ploucha 0-0-0, Brady Kotlarek 0-0-0. TOTALS: 15-9-43.
Revere — Austin Marciniak 7-1-19, Nicholas Reale 2-1-5, Eddie Janini 2-2-8, Dan Fanelly 2-5-9, Josh Pritchard 4-1-9, Carson Corle 3-2-8, Kenton Keesler 1-1-4, Landon Holl 0-0-0, Dan Pollock 0-0-0, Casey Perch 0-0-0, Griffen Pine 0-0-0, Blake Suponcic 0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-13-62.
3-point goals — Johnson, O’Callaghan, Sykora, Buckwald, Marciniak 4, Janini 2, Keesler. Rebounds — Cloverleaf 10 (Sykora 5), Green 24 (Pritchard 6). Assists — Cloverleaf 7 (Buckholz 3), Green 14 (Keesler 4). Records — Cloverleaf (1-6, 0-5), Green (6-0, 5-0). Junior varsity — Green 40, Cloverleaf 26.