July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Colts take home basketball finale vs. Brooklyn

WESTFIELD TWP. — The Cloverleaf boys basketball team made sure its last home game of the season was a joyous one.

The Colts led from start to finish and recorded their largest win of the season Tuesday with a 64-40 non-league victory over Brooklyn.

Cloverleaf’s Adam Podolak drives to the basket past Brooklyn defenders Andrew Grose, left, and Dan Lott in the second quarter. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JUDD SMERGLIA)

“We haven’t been able to celebrate in the fourth quarter much this season,” senior point guard Brandon Johnson said. “It felt really good to get a win in my last game on this court. The last four years went fast. If I could go back and do it all over again, I’d do it in a second.”

The Colts, who finished 1-20 a season ago, improved to 5-15 with Suburban League games at Tallmadge and Copley remaining on their regular-season schedule. Brooklyn fell to 6-12.

Small forward Robby Buckwald led Cloverleaf with 15 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks, while shooting guard Adam Podolak had seven of his 12 points in the game-deciding first quarter.

Johnson had six points, three rebounds, two assists and three steals, forward Connor Ploucha had four points and eight boards off the bench and reserve guard Ryan O’Callaghan had six points. Normal starter Cliff Collyer, who didn’t play until the 5:15 mark of the third period due to disciplinary reasons, made the most of that time with seven points, four rebounds and a game-high five assists.

It all added up to an enjoyable evening for the Colts, who led 14-1 with 2:13 left in the opening period.

“Our senior class didn’t want to go out with one win again,” Johnson said. “We wanted to push the underclassmen so they could come back and have a better team next season. This was a building year. We wanted to start something.”

Brooklyn played hard and used a 12-2 run to get within 27-21 with 1:11 to go in the second quarter, but the napping Colts woke up, stretched their lead to 31-21 at intermission and quickly turned the game into a blowout in the third period.

Center Michael Byndas led the Hurricanes with 13 points, six rebounds and two assists, while point guard John Schnear had seven points and four boards.

“It was nice finally to sub out the seniors with a big lead,” Cloverleaf coach Marty Ryan said. “That was a good feeling.

“We’re taking steps in the right direction. We can’t take one giant step in one year and expect to win the league, but we’re making positive steps in the right direction.”


Cloverleaf won the junior varsity game 43-20 behind 10 points from Dillon Mullins and eight apiece from Andrew Jarrett and Braedon Hansen. Mullins also scored a quick six points in garbage time of the varsity game.

 Colts junior varsity player Kevin Martin told his teammates he’d shave his head if Cloverleaf won the JV game by 25 points or more. Tristan Tierney almost made that happen, but his 3-pointer was correctly ruled to have left his hand after the final buzzer.

 Brooklyn’s varsity team is coached by 1999 Wadsworth graduate Jon Holko.

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

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.