CLAYTON -- With crisp passing and sharp shooting, the Monrovia girls' basketball team proved too much for Cloverdale Wednesday.
The Bulldogs defeated the Clovers, 65-39, in the first round of the Cascade Sectional.
Rachel Hadley led Monrovia with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Shayla Black added 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field.
The Clovers started off strong, hanging with the Bulldogs, battling to a 7-6 lead three minutes into the game. Although Monrovia pressed the Cloverdale offense early, the Clovers seemed unphased.
"I thought we handled their pressure early," Cloverdale Coach Bruce Cook said. "We worried about their full court press, but we handled it in the first three minutes. They called it off."
However, a 6-1 run, punctuated by Black taking a right hand through the lane for two points, gave Monrovia a 12-8 lead with just over one minute remaining in the quarter.
Kristen Schroer responded with a Cloverdale offensive rebound, followed by an Emily Puffer free throw. But a Victoria Dorsett three-pointer from Lauren Long gave the Bulldogs 15-11 lead going into the second period.
When Chelsie Haltom hit a low bank shot in the lane early in the second quarter, Cloverdale seemed to be in good shape, trailing 16-13.
"I thought, 'okay, we're still all right here,'" Cook said. "Then, wam, the door fell open."
The Bulldogs went on a 15-0 run over the next five minutes of the game, taking a 31-13 lead. In that stretch, Black had six straight points and three steals of her own, as Monrovia turned up defensive heat, converting easy buckets off turnovers.
"They got their hands on a lot of balls when we were going through the lane," Cook said. "They were in great position. I just thought they were ready to play us."
The Clovers were never able to recover.
Hannah Monnett led Cloverdale with 12 points, while Schroer added six points and eight rebounds off the bench.
"Kristen Schroer really played well for us in the month of January and here in early February," Cook said. "She's coming back next year."
In her final game, the lone Cloverdale senior Emily Puffer scored eight points and added five rebounds in the game.
Along with what she brings to the stat book, Cook said the Clovers are going to miss other things about Puffer.
"I think we're going to miss her upbeat personality," he said. "She never came to summer ball or practice where she wasn't positive. She really added a lot to our team. Every day she's very positive."
The Clovers ended the season with an 8-13 record, while the Bulldogs improve to 14-7, and face Cascade in the sectional semifinal Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Despite losing the game Wednesday, in reflection, Cook was pleased with the 2005-06 season. Looking ahead to next year, he said the Clovers are going to be even better.
"I think that Koosman and Haltom have really progressed a lot," he said. "They're not really consistent yet, but they've progressed. I think we're going to fill some of the holes and maybe be a little stronger than we were this year.
"We're going to be in great shape. I'm looking forward to taking a month off, and then getting back into the gym and get into the summer," Cook added.
At Cascade Sectional
Cloverdale 11 6 12 10 -- 39
Monrovia 15 18 15 17 -- 65
Cloverdale - Haltom 1 2-3 4, Tutterow 0 0-0 0, Monnett 4 4-4 12, Puffer 2 3-5 8, Schroer 2 2-4 6, Arnold 0 0-0, Moon 2 2-4 6, Koosman 1 1-4 3. Totals FG 12, FT 14-24, TP 39.
Monrovia - Smith 0 0-0 0, Long 2 0-2 4, Black 5 2-2 12, Parsons 0 0-0 0, Speck 3 3-6 10, Harris 1 0-0 2, Hadley 8 2-2 18, Funk 2 0-0 4, Dillon 3 0-2 7, Engel 3 0-0 6. FG 28, FT 7-19, TP 65.
3 pt. - Cloverdale 1 (Puffer 1), Monrovia 2 (Speck 1, Dillon 1), Rebounds - Cloverdale 27 (Schroer 8), Monrovia 24 (Hadley 8), Assists - Cloverdale 5 (Haltom 2), Monrovia 15 (Long 4), Steals - Cloverdale 6 (Koosman 3), Monrovia 8 (Black 3).
Next game -- The Bulldogs face Cascade Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the sectional semifinal.