July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Grizzlies have too much bite for Colts

Wadsworth's Kyle Prunty puts up a shot between Cloverleaf's Dillon Mullins, right, and Andrew Jarrett during the second quarter. (RON SCHWANE / GAZETTE)

Rick Noland

The Gazette

WADSWORTH — The varsity game mirrored the junior varsity contest.

The Wadsworth boys basketball team stormed to a 70-34 victory over Cloverleaf on Friday in Suburban League action after building a whopping 21-2 lead after the first quarter.

The Grizzlies (2-1, 1-0), who outscored the Colts (0-3, 0-1) 49-11 over the first and third periods, followed the lead of their JV team, which led 22-0 after one stanza en route to a 59-14 victory.

“We knew they were going to press, but we dug a hole,” Cloverleaf coach Marty Ryan said. “We didn’t handle their pressure well.

“We’re going to have to work on the mental part. We’ll work on the press more, because mentally we’re not handling it the way we should.”

The Grizzlies, who were coming off a tough 51-47 overtime loss to Stow on Tuesday, had their heads in the game throughout save for a brief case of the hiccups in the second quarter.

With everyone contributing, Wadsworth’s pressure defense forced eight first-quarter turnovers as eight Grizzlies got into the scoring column in the opening period.

“We’ve been coming out slow,” said small forward Austin White, who led all scorers with 17 points while adding five rebounds and two assists. “We really emphasized coming out strong.”

Down 16-0, the Colts finally got their first points when Dillon Mullins scored inside with 1:59 left in the opening quarter, but they didn’t score again until Ryan O’Callaghan hit a 3-pointer with 5½ minutes remaining in the second period.

Due in large part to Wadsworth’s 4-for-13 foul shooting in the first half — the Grizzlies were 9-for-25 at one point before finishing 12-for-28 — Cloverleaf pulled within 32-16 at intermission, but the game got totally away from the Colts in the third quarter.

Wadsworth started the second half on a 23-5 run to go up 55-21 with 2:13 left in the third period, making the rest of the game a formality.

“The way the second quarter ended, we weren’t happy,” White said. “In the third quarter, we wanted to make another stand and show what we could do.”

That the Grizzlies did, as 6-foot-6 center Kyle Prunty finished with 12 points and six rebounds, with Joel Kipfer (7 points, 4 rebounds), Jimmy Elchlinger (7 points) and Nick Hewitt (7 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) making solid contributions off the bench.

Wadsworth, which outrebounded Cloverleaf 38-23, also got five points, three boards and three assists from starting point guard Patrick Long and five points, six boards and two assists from shooting guard Barry Fernholz.

“The Stow game, we weren’t happy with at all,” White said. “We wanted to come out and make a stand and show everybody we’re the best team in the SL.”

The Grizzlies play on the road next week against SL foes Green and Nordonia, who will provide a much stiffer test than Cloverleaf did Friday.

Connor Ploucha led the Colts with eight points and eight boards, while Mullins, who got six of his points in the final period, finished with eight points and seven rebounds. O’Callaghan added seven points, but fellow starters Adam Podolak and Damian Tripp, who combined for 23 points Tuesday against Keystone, failed to score.


Cliff Collyer, who transferred from Cloverleaf to Wadsworth, will have an appeal heard by the Ohio High School Athletic Association next week, the goal being to reduce the 10 games he’s currently required to sit out.l Cloverleaf’s Brady Kotlarek, who was slated to be a key contributor, could be done for the season due to torn ligaments in his wrist.

l Tim Schuerger had 11 points in Wadsworth’s 56-14 JV victory. Michael Martin hit a late 3-pointer to lead the Colts with five.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @RickNoland.

Wadsworth 70, Cloverleaf 34

CLOVERLEAF                            2  14   9   9  — 34

WADSWORTH                          21 11  28 10 — 70

Cloverleaf — Damian Tripp 0-0-0, Connor Ploucha 4-0-8, Dillon Mullins 4-0-8, Adam Podolak 0-0-0, Ryan O’Callaghan 2-2-7, Braedon Hansen 2-0-6, Matt Geig 0-0-0, A.J. Timken 0-0-0, Andrew Jarrett 1-3-5, Garrison Flora 0-0-0, Troy Kapeluck 0-0-0. TOTALS: 13-5-34.

Wadsworth — Austin White 6-3-17, Anthony Palecek 1-0-3, Kyle Prunty 5-2-12, Barry Fernholz 2-0-5, Patrick Long 2-0-5, Joel Kipfer 2-3-7, Jimmy Elchlinger 3-1-7, Nick Hewitt 1-3-5, Tyson Heideman 1-0-2, Ben Bingham 1-0-3, Joey Johnson 2-0-4. TOTALS: 26-12-70.

3-point goals — Hansen 2, O’Callaghan, White 2, Palecek, Bingham, Long, Fernholz. Rebounds — Cloverleaf 23 (Ploucha 8), Wadsworth 38 (Prunty 6). Assists — Cloverleaf 11 (Podolak, Tripp, Flora 2), Wadsworth 15 (Long, Palecek, Hewitt 3). Records — Cloverleaf (0-3, 0-1), Wadsworth (2-1, 1-0). Junior varsity — Wadsworth 56-14.

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.