By Richard Doyle
WESTFIELD TWP. — Fresh off an impressive win against Revere, Cloverleaf’s girls basketball team was looking to make a name for itself Wednesday against Highland. In the end, the Hornets utilized all their talent to bring home an energetic 58-36 Suburban League win.
Cloverleaf coach John Carmigiano used an undersized but quick lineup. His approach somewhat backfired, as Highland center Mallory Adams (9 blocks, 5 rebounds) and small forward AnnMarie Kirchner (7 rebounds, 6 points) made their presence known by contesting every shot.
Adams in particular kept the Cloverleaf bigs frustrated by blocking five shots in the first half.
“I got really pumped up for this game,” Adams said. “I knew I needed to come out and play hard and box out.”
Cloverleaf countered with some excellent play in the paint by Lauren Gokey (5 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals) and Kendall Yuhas, who changed the complexion of the game by coming off the bench to tear down 11 rebounds.
Both teams tried to wear each other down. The Colts rotated nine players in the first quarter, only to be outdone by Highland’s 10.
“The last couple of games we weren’t shooting very well,” Hornets coach Bernard Bolha said. “We weren’t really jelling. I think the kids just needed to have a little more fun. Subbing them all in got them mentally involved with the game and kept them rooting each other on.”
The second quarter proved fatal for Cloverleaf, as it only scored four points to fall behind by 11 at halftime. When the Colts tried instituting a full-court press, the Hornets’ Jessica Peterlin (8 points, 5 steals) masterfully handled the pressure while her teammates made critical free throws down the stretch.
“I don’t think we let the pressure bother us,” Peterlin said. “We made most of our foul shots, and that’s pretty clutch. That’ll win or lose games. Everybody contributed and we all played as a team.”
Highland’s balanced attack saw 11 of its 12 players score, including a team-high 11 points from freshman Marlee Profitt and eight from Anna Rose Wiencek.
“We were pretty pumped up,” Bolha said. “The kids prepared well. To me, it just looked like the kids were having fun out there.”
The Highland junior varsity won 46-25.
Brenna Holliday, who participated on the Cloverleaf fourth-grade travel team that was honored before the game for its second-place finish in the Barberton Tournament, sang an amazing rendition of the national anthem.
Contact Richard Doyle at email@example.com.