WESTFIELD TWP. — Brycen Holliday and Matt Tanko made a “bet” Friday evening prior to the Cloverleaf boys basketball team’s game against Ravenna.
That’s why Tanko got to douse Holliday with a bucket of lemon lime Gatorade following the Colts’ 58-48 Portage Trail Conference Metro Division victory over the Ravens, who played without leading scorer Amil Jenkins in both their losses to Cloverleaf this season.
What would have been the result of the bet if the Colts had lost?
“We didn’t talk about that,” Holliday said after scoring a game-high 21 points as the Colts improved to 7-12, 4-8.
Coming off a disappointing 73-49 non-league loss to Whitney Young on Thursday, Cloverleaf players were more concerned with righting the ship against Ravenna (5-12, 3-8).
Relying on a standard 2-3 zone — the Ravens were 5-for-26 on 3-pointers until making three of their last four in garbage time — and getting at least seven points from four players, the Colts did just that.
“We were quite disappointed with the way we played (Thursday),” said small forward Joe Rohde, who had 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting and team highs of six rebounds and four assists. “We wanted to get back and show everybody how we’re capable of playing. We were hungry.”
With center Bowen Brown (10 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists) scoring their first eight points, the Ravens led 20-14 with 6:12 left in the first half after back-to-back 3-pointers by Kymani Jones and Donovan Kelly.
Ravenna went ice cold after that, however, and Holliday got going offensively after starting the game 1-for-6 and committing three turnovers.
“Coach (Jack Banks) ran a couple plays to get me going,” the sophomore said. “I got some rhythm that way. If one shot doesn’t go in, it means on the next shot there’s a higher chance of hitting it.”
Holliday went 5-for-8 from the field the rest of the way and was perfect on seven free throws for the game while getting some nice help from power forward Nick Bailey (11 points, 5 rebounds) and sixth man Tanko (7, 4).
“He had so many hustle plays, crucial steals, big rebounds,” Holliday said of Bailey, whose five field goals came on layups or cuts to the hoop. “”He did everything.”
Of Tanko, who has become a reliable scorer off the bench, Holliday said, “He’s just finding a groove. When you have another guy who can spread the floor, a dead-eye shooter like he is, it makes it easier for everybody else.”
Despite getting outrebounded 32-24, the Colts did a much better job of tracking down long boards and preventing second and third shots in the second half. In addition, after scoring just four points over the first 6:05 of a putrid third quarter, Cloverleaf closed the period on a 7-0 run to go up 38-35.
The Colts then combined good offense with good defense to go on a 19-7 run to start the fourth, ending any hope of a comeback for the Ravens, who got 16 points from small forward Isaiah Bradley and six points and six assists from shooting guard Isiah Latimer.
“We wanted to keep (the ball) in front of us and let them shoot,” Rohde said. “We knew they weren’t that good of a shooting team.”
With seven victories on the season, the Colts have a chance to match or surpass the 2007-08 and 1991-92 teams, which posted nine. The last time Cloverleaf won more games came in a 17-win season in 1987-88.
More important than that on Friday, though, was atoning for the Whitney Young loss, which the Colts did by winning for the third time in four games.
“We were trying to erase what happened (Thursday),” Holliday said. “Like a closer in baseball, that’s the mentality we needed to have.”
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or email@example.com. Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.
Cloverleaf 58, Ravenna 48
RAVENNA 14 12 9 13 — 48
CLOVERLEAF 14 13 11 20 — 58
Ravenna — Isaiah Bradley 5-4-16, Brant Hanna 2-0-4, Bowen Brown 5-0-10, Isiah Latimer 2-0-6, Ethan Alexander 0-0-0, Kymani Jones 1-0-3, Donovan Kelly 1-0-3, Owen Whittington 1-0-3, Debonaire Wright 0-0-0, Zach Jones 0-0-0, Joey Bogo 1-0-3, Ryan Franks 0-0-0. TOTALS: 18-4-48.
Cloverleaf — Joe Rohde 5-0-12, Nick Bailey 5-1-11, Sylar Jones 0-2-2, Cruz Severson 2-0-4, Brycen Holliday 6-7-21, Matt Tanko 2-2-7, Tyler Webb 0-0-0, Jeremy Cottrell 0-1-1, Colin Andel 0-0-0, Alex Leonard 0-0-0, Matt Price 0-0-0, Blake Wilson 0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-13-58.
3-point goals — Latimer 2, Bradley 2, K. Jones, Kelly, Whittington, Bogo, Holliday 2, Rohde 2, Tanko. Rebounds — Ravenna 32 (Brown 11), Cloverleaf 24 (Rohde 6). Assists — Ravenna 15 (Latimer 6), Cloverleaf 14 (Rohde 4). Records — Ravenna (5-12, 3-8), Cloverleaf (7-12, 4-8). Junior varsity — Ravenna 52, Cloverleaf 18.