Cloverdale's postseason couldn't have started any better.
The Clovers won their first round game in the Class 2A South Putnam Sectional 45 with ease, defeating Monrovia for the second time this season by more than 30 points, 90-43, and they did it with Chase Haltom scoring only nine points.
Haltom, for most of the season, has been averaging more than 20 points per game, and even though he is still a crucial part of the offense, Cloverdale doesn't need him to score 20 or more points a game when they have three or more players hitting double digits, like Wednesday's game.
The Clovers had three players in double digits in Kyle McCammon, Michael Neese and Craig Blair.
'Since the Speedway game, we have had many more players scoring and we have been able to move the ball around better to open people,' CHS Coach Pat Rady said.
The Clovers opened the game with Monrovia in their usual fashion, shooting the three-point shot. McCammon drained his first trey of the night 90 seconds into the game. He ended the night shooting 4-for-9 from behind the arch.
The Bulldogs came back and hit two free throws to get on the board with about six minutes left in the quarter, but for the next four-and-a-half minutes, the court belonged to the Clovers.
Christian Cheatham started the Clovers on a 15-0 run with a free throw from the charity stripe. Neese followed up Cheatham's free throw with back-to-back three pointers. Craig Blair came off the bench and did what he does best, rip down rebounds and score points in the paint, within a few minutes of being in the game, Blair scored six points for the Clovers on the inside.
At the end of the first quarter, Cloverdale had outscored the Bulldogs 20-17.
'We came out and played extremely well (Wednesday) as a team,' Rady said. 'We saw them (Monrovia) play well against Eminence the other night, so we knew we had to be ready for them.'
The Clovers did what Rady wanted, in fact probably better than he had hoped.
In the second quarter, Cloverdale put the screws to Monrovia, outscoring the Bulldogs, 25-7. The Bulldogs scored one time in five minutes when Damon Speck sunk a free throw and from that point on, it was Cloverdale. The Clovers went on a 16-0 spurt over the next three minutes, putting the hurt on Monrovia's hopes of advancing to the second round.
At the half, Cloverdale held a commanding 45-14 lead over the Bulldogs.
The second half proved to be no different for the Bulldogs.
At the start of the third quarter, Monrovia showed signs that they possibly could get back into the game when Brock Benefiel drained a long three-pointer followed by a post bucket from Andrew Grismore, but it never happened. The Clovers hit another spurt, this time for 18 points with Neese and McCammon hitting three trey's one right after another. Haltom came to life during the run, scoring seven of his nine points.
Monrovia's offense was able to get a little more going in the third quarter, scoring 14 points, but Cloverdale scored another 25 points, smothering any last hopes the Bulldogs had of extending their season.
In the final quarter, Rady pulled his main players and put in his bench, but that made little difference as Cloverdale proved it has depth. Kevin Gregg came in and knocked down a long three-pointer and two freebies while Kyle Faletic scored three points.
Cloverdale outscored the Bulldogs 20-15 for the final.
Cloverdale's next game will not be as easy as it will have to play Tri-West the No. 2-ranked team in Class 2A basketball on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
'It will be a challenge playing Tri-West and we will have to be at our best,' Rady said.
The last time the Clovers met up with the Bruins, Tri-West won, 73-69 in overtime.
The Clovers' offense was led by Neese who had 18 points for the night followed by McCammon with 16 while Blair chipped in 12. Haltom finished the night with nine points along with Tyler Cooper. Ryan Dean came through for seven points while Kevin Gregg and Cheatham scored five points each. Luke Lovins chipped in four points and Ryan Shoulders scored two points.
The Clovers will play Tri-West Friday in the second round of the South Putnam Sectional at 7:30 p.m.
At South Putnam
Class 2A Sectional 45
Cloverdale 20 25 25 20 - 90
Monrovia 7 7 14 15 - 43
CL - Gregg 1 2-2 5, Neese 6 2-2 18, Blair 5 2-2 12, Haltom 4 0-0 9, Faletic 1 1-2 3, Cheatham 2 1-2 5, McCammon 5 2-4 16, Cooper 4 1-2 9, Shoulders 0 2-2 2, Lovins 1 2-2 4, Dean 3 1-2 7. Totals -- FG 32-58, FT 15-20, TP 90.
MO - Speck 1 1-2 3, Smith 0 0-0 0, Brooks 3 2-2 8, Martin 0 0-0 0, Bowers 0 0-0 0, Steward 0 0-0 0, Sampson 1 2-4 5, Smith 3 0-0 7, Dirlam 0 0-0 0, Benefiel 3 1-2 9, Graves 1 0-0 2, Grismore 4 1-1 9, Hadley 0 0-0 0. Totals -- FG 16-39, FT 7-12, TP 43.
3pt - CL 10 (McCammon 4, Neese 4), MO 4 (Benefiel 2). Rebounds - CL 21 (Cheatham 9), MO 12 (Graves3). Steals - CL 9 (McCammon3), MO 6 (Speck 4). Assists - CL 13 (Haltom 4), MO 5 (Speck 2, Graves 2). Total Fouls - CL 7, MO18. Fouled Out - None.
Next Game - Cloverdale takes on Tri-West Friday at 7:30 p.m.
From Staff Reports
Despite South Vermillion junior Cole Milam scoring 32 points, the Wildcats fell short of upsetting Class 2A's No. 2-ranked Tri-West Wednesday at South Putnam.
The Bruins walked away with a 59-58 victory, advancing to face Cloverdale in the sectional semifinal Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Marco Moses led the Bruins with 19 points, while Tyler Bruce added 18 points in the game.
Tri-West jumped out to an 18-12 lead in the first quarter, before South Vermillion outscored the Bruins, 16-9, in the second period, taking a 28-27 lead into halftime.
Tri-West outscored the Wildcats, 18-12, in the third quarter, taking a 45-40 lead into the fourth quarter.
Despite South Vermillion outscoring Tri-West, 18-14 in the final period, the Wildcats effort came up short.
At South Putnam
Class 2A Sectional 45
South Vermillion 12 16 12 18-- 58
Tri-West 18 9 18 14 -- 59
South Vermillion -- Milam 13 2-2 32, Fisher 6 0-0 12, Alexander 2 0-0 4, Dunham 2 0-0 4, Walker 2 0-0 4, Walsh 1 0-0 2. Totals FG 26, FT 2-2, TP 58.
Tri-West -- Moses 9 0-0 19, Bruce 7 3-3 18, Thompson 4 2-2 10, Robertson 3 2-2 8, Ricks 2 0-0 4. Totals FG 23, FT 7-7, TP 59.