It was a scrappy four quarters between the Cloverdale and Greencastle girls' varsity basketball squads in the second game of the Putnam County Tourney Friday.
The Clovers came out victorious, defeating the Tiger Cubs, 40-35.
"We've got a group of girls that just don't want to lose," Cloverdale Coach Bruce Cook said. "And that's something new for us."
Leading the way for the Clovers, Hannah Monnett finished with a team-high 13 points and four steals in the game. Ashley Koosman added 11 points and eight rebounds for Cloverdale, while Chelsie Haltom dished out three assists.
"We've got eight girls that really fill these holes that need to be filled," Cook said. "They really make a team."
The Clovers got off to a strong start, taking a 14-5 lead after the first quarter. Monnett scored the Clovers' first six points, while Emily Puffer hit a three-point basket with just over three minutes remaining in the first to extend the Clovers' lead to 9-4.
However, Greencastle's Kyrian Marshall refused to let her team down. The 6-foot-3 senior scored all of Greencastle's points in the first quarter, battling for rebounds and hitting the floor for every loose ball.
This style of play impressed Greencastle Coach Glenn Hile.
"The thing that she did, which I have not seen her do, is that she went for the ball for loose balls and she was battling inside," Hile said.
Greencastle battled back to score eight points in the second quarter. A Stephanie Masten three-pointer with just over a minute remaining in the half gave the Tiger Cubs some momentum. However, Cloverdale continued its fight, taking a 25-13 lead into halftime.
"We just couldn't get in sync offensively," Hile said. "That's going to take us a while to get us really acclimated to handling the ball."
In the second half, both teams turned up the defensive pressure. Cloverdale only managed to score six points, while Greencastle scored 10 points. The Clovers took a 31-23 lead into the third quarter.
Bodies were flying, emotions were high and the game was drawing closer.
After a Lauren Robertson three with just under four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the game was at 35-30. After Haltom and Masten exchanged a free throw each, Masten followed up a Tiger Cub miss to put Greencastle within three at 36-33 with 2:20 remaining in the contest.
That was as close as the Tiger Cubs would come. Cloverdale outscored Greencastle 4-2 in the final two minutes to win the game, advancing to the tournament championship tonight.
"Our defense got a lot better," Hile said. "We started to execute a little better, but we still never got into our offense. That really killed us."
Bright spots for the Tiger Cubs included Marshall's performance, which included 15 points, eight blocks and nine rebounds.
"I don't know how many rebounds she had, but it had to be a bunch," Hile said. " That was her best game I've ever seen her play."
Masten also finished 12 points on the night for the Tiger Cubs.
Greencastle faces North Putnam tonight in the consolation championship tonight at 6:30 p.m. at South Putnam.
"We've got to handle the ball," Hile said. "And we've got to cover their two shooters. They know what they need to do -- make us turn the ball over. We've just got to handle the ball better."
The Clovers move on to face South Putnam in the tournament championship following the consolation championship. Cook knows this will be a tall task. In particular, shutting down the Eagles' star player, Jessica Canary, will be a challenge in itself.
"Realistically, she's the best player in the county," Cook said. "She's worked very hard in her four years to get where she's at."
Cloverdale 14 11 6 9 -- 40
Greencastle 5 8 10 12 -- 35
Cloverdale -- Haltom 1-6 4-6 6, Monnett 6-13 1-3 13, Koosman 4-8 1-3 11, Puffer 1-5 0-2 3, Schroer 0-1 3-4 3, Arnold 1-3 0-2 2, Moon 0-1 2-2 2.
Greencastle -- Masten 3-7 5-6 12, Marshall 7-12 1-2 15, Robertson 2-5 6, Weatherford 0-4 1-4 1, Miller 0-1 1-2 1.
3 pt. FG -- Cloverdale 3 (Koosman 2), Greencastle 2 (Robertson 2). Rebounds -- Cloverdale 23 (Koosman 8), Greencastle 19 (Marshall 9). Steals -- Cloverdale 11 (Monnett 4), Greencastle 8 (Marshall 3). Assists -- Cloverdale 6 (Haltom 3), Greencastle 7 (Masten 3). Blocks -- Cloverdale 4 (Arnold 3), Greencastle 9 (Marshall 8).