BROOKLYN — Forgive the Cloverleaf boys basketball players if they have a little extra bounce in their steps today.
The Colts finally got their first win of the season by knocking off Brooklyn 67-55 in a non-league game Tuesday.
How Cloverleaf (1-5) got that first win was a testament to hard work and fundamentals.
“It feels great,” coach Marty Ryan said. “The kids have been working hard all season for the win, and we finally got one. We minimized our turnovers and were efficient at the free throw line. They got the things done that we talked about getting done, and it led to a victory for us.”
The Colts fell behind by as many as six points in the first half, but kept battling as the game went down to the fourth quarter.
“I think it was in our head that, ‘Oh, no. Here we go again,”’ Cloverleaf guard Ryan O’Callaghan said. “We got ourselves in another hole. We imagined that we were behind, and Coach told us that we were down 12-17 so we could come out with more fire and intensity.”
At that point, the Colts cranked up their defensive pressure and made clutch play after clutch play to win going away.
The Colts forced the Hurricanes (4-2) into 10 fourth-quarter turnovers and were lights out from the free throw line, making 14-for-19 to break open a game that was tied at 41 after three quarters.
“The free throw shooting was clutch,” Ryan said. “We hit them at the appropriate time.”
Dillon Mullins (23 points, 12 rebounds) was a force in the second half. The 6-foot-5 center had 15 points and eight rebounds in the last two quarters and went 5-for-5 from the line in the fourth quarter.
“I was just getting buckets,” Mullins said. “Everybody was passing the ball and sharing it and getting me open.”
Joining Mullins with a stellar effort from the charity stripe was O’Callaghan (11 points), who made all four of his attempts and had a pair of steals.
“Half our practice we work on free throws,” O’Callaghan said. “It was just doing the little small things.”
Cloverleaf had to overcome a hot start from a pair of Brooklyn’s Dan Czirr (17 points, 8 rebounds) and Deric Martin (12, 7), who combined for 12 of their team’s 16 points in the first quarter.
The Colts’ Adam Podolak joined Mullins and O’Callaghan in double figures with 11 points, three steals and two highlight reel-blocks.
Lucas Galarza scored 20 points as the Hurricanes won the junior varsity game 62-30. Michael Martin led the Colts with 10.
Contact Chad Grant at email@example.com.