June 29, 2016


Grizzlies not totally satisfied

Cloverleaf's Connor Ploucha (20) and Adam Podolak (10) battle Wadsworth's Jimmy Elchlinger for a rebound during the first quarter. (AARON JOSEFCZYK)

Rick Noland

The Gazette

WADSWORTH — It was the classic case of the winning coach wanting more and the losing one finding positives.

The Wadsworth boys basketball team defeated Cloverleaf 62-47 Friday in Suburban League action, but the Grizzlies had some flat spots as the Colts kept the score respectable all night.

“We’re going to watch a lot of film (today), because there’s about an hour’s worth of teaching moments on there,” Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said after his team improved to 7-5, 6-2. “But the bottom line is a win is a win. We’ll take every one we can get.”

The Grizzlies, who have won six of their last seven, got six 3-pointers and a game-high 20 points from sophomore small forward Austin White, who added seven rebounds and three assists. Junior center Kyle Prunty had 15 points and nine boards and senior power forward Nathan Pound finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.

The Grizzlies, coming off an emotional one-point win at Barberton on Tuesday, raced to an 8-0 lead in the first 58 seconds, as White and point guard Patrick Long banged in threes around a Prunty putback.

With 1:30 left in the first period, Wadsworth was up 22-10 and seemed to be cruising, but Cloverleaf (3-11, 1-7) had other ideas.

With leading scorer Robby Buckwald in Toledo tending to college football business, the Colts went on a 9-0 run to pull within 22-19 with 5:40 left in the first half.

Keyed by great early efforts from reserves Connor Ploucha (8 points, 7 rebounds) and Ryan O’Callaghan, who had all six of his points in the first 4:35 of the second quarter, Cloverleaf extended its run to 13-2 to get within 24-23 with 3:25 left in the half.

“We started playing smarter,” Colts coach Marty Ryan said. “We looked for the open man. We were unselfish. That’s what we’ve been working on.”

Cloverleaf actually had the ball with a chance to go ahead but missed a jump shot, and Wadsworth proceeded to score nine answered points to go back up 10.

Ploucha hit a 15-footer to make it a 33-25 game at the half, but the Grizzlies scored the first four points of the third period and the Colts never again got closer than 10.

Wadsworth’s lead fluctuated between 12 and 17 the entire fourth quarter, but the Grizzlies made enough mental and physical errors to help a determined Cloverleaf squad stay fairly close.

“We definitely did not play with the intensity I thought we would coming off Tuesday night’s game,” Schmeltzer said. “We came out playing pretty hard, then we got complacent. You can’t do that at the varsity level.

“They played hard and we didn’t at times. When the other team plays harder than you, there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to be a game. We’ll learn from it.”

Long finished with six points, five rebounds and three assists for the Grizzlies, while backcourt partner Barry Fernholz went scoreless but had four boards and a game-high five assists. Frontcourt reserve Anthony Palecek contributed five points, four rebounds and three assists.

Sophomore point guard Cliff Collyer was solid all night for the Colts, finishing with 12 points, five boards and four nifty assists, all of the latter scattered among the dozen no-look passes he threw on the evening. Power forward Brandt Buckholz added 10 points for Cloverleaf, while shooting guard Brandon Johnson had seven.

“They just came out on fire,” Ryan said of the Grizzlies. “That put us in a huge hole, but I like the way my kids stayed with it and fought back.”


The Grizzlies were 4-for-8 at the line and didn’t hit their first free throw until the 6:19 mark of the fourth quarter. The Colts finished 4-for-10 at the stripe.

l Wadsworth won the junior varsity game 71-43 behind 18 points from Joel Kipfer, 14 from Tyson Heideman and 11 from Nick Hewitt. Troy Kapeluck led Cloverleaf with 13.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.

Wadsworth 62, Cloverleaf 47

CLOVERLEAF                              14 11 9 13 — 47

WADSWORTH                           22 11 13 16 — 62

    Cloverleaf — Adam Podolak 1-0-2, Brandt Buckholz 4-2-10, Jayson Sykora 1-0-2, Brandon Johnson 3-0-7, Cliff Collyer 5-2-12, Connor Ploucha 4-0-8, Ryan O’Callaghan 3-0-6, Bishop Woodall 0-0-0, Dillon Mullins 0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-4-47.

    Wadsworth — Austin White 7-0-20, Nathan Pound 7-0-14, Kyle Prunty 7-1-15, Barry Fernholz 0-0-0, Patrick Long 2-0-6, Tucker Robinson 0-0-0, Anthony Palecek 2-1-5, Martice Jackson 0-0-0, Jimmy Elchlinger 0-2-2, Ryan Sheppard 0-0-0, Tony Hogan 0-0-0, Eric Perebzak 0-0-0, Dylan Galford 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-4-62.

    3-point goals — Johnson, White 6, Long 2. Rebounds — Cloverleaf 24 (Ploucha 7), Wadsworth 40 (Prunty 9). Assists — Cloverleaf 8 (Collyer 4), Wadsworth 18 (Fernholz 5). Records — Cloverleaf (3-11, 1-7), Wadsworth (7-5, 6-2). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 71, Cloverleaf 43.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.