For the Cloverdale girls' varsity basketball team, Monday night was full of frustration.
Through four quarters, the Clovers kept getting close to Eminence, only to watch the Eels pull their lead further ahead. Despite solid performances from Ashley Koosman and Hannah Monnett, Cloverdale lost to Eminence, 53-51, Monday.
"I thought Eminence is probably one of the better teams we play," Cloverdale Coach Bruce Cook said. "I'm really not disappointed in how we played."
The combination of Jacci Martin and Jessica Mallot proved too much for the Clovers. Mallott scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the game, while Martin scored 13 points, including three big, three-point buckets.
"Just when I feel like we get a little a momentum going, she steps back and hits that three," Cook said.
Martin hit her biggest three-point basket of the night in the final quarter. After an Emily Puffer three-pointer, closing the Eminence lead to 41-36, Martin stepped back and hit a shot from one foot beyond the three point line, giving Eminence a 44-36 lead.
The Clovers battled back on two consecutive steals by Monnett, converted into buckets with just thee minutes remaining. With under one minute remaining, Koosman hit a three-point field goal, followed by another two-point bucket with just 6.8 seconds remaining, making the score, 51-48.
The sophomore guard gave her team one last chance.
"She is so determined," Cook said of Koosman. "She just has that determined look in her face."
The Clovers made a quick foul, putting Eminence's Michelle Kreamer to the line. Kreamer hit both free throws, stretching the lead to 43-38, with only 5.4 seconds remaining. The Clovers fate was sealed.
Koosman scored 19 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and ripped five steals in the game, leading the Clovers. Cook was pleased to see her shooting the ball more.
"After the South Putnam game, we talked about her pulling the trigger a little quicker," Cook said. "And she did tonight."
Monnett finished with 18 points, four rebounds and three steals in the game. Koosman and Monnett combined for all but 14 of the Clovers' points in the contest, including 15 first half points.
Puffer finished with eight points in the game, including two three-point field goals at key points in the game.
"She's getting better all of the time," Cook said of Puffer. "She hits that shot from the elbow for us, and that's really going to help us out a lot."
Chelsie Haltom contributed six points, four assists and three steals in the effort. In particular, Cook was pleased with her at the point guard position, handling the Eminence pressure defense.
"We're amazed at Chelsie sometimes, just being a sophomore," he said. "I'll talk to her about something, and she goes out and does it right away. With a lot of girls at this age, there has to be so much repetition before it becomes a habit. Chelsie, you just tell her."
The Clovers battled early, matching the Eels bucket for bucket. A Monnett steal and layup, made the score 7-5 midway through the first quarter.
That was the last lead the Clovers had.
Cloverdale closed the deficit to 16-15, after the first quarter, and tied the game at 20-all with just over four minutes remaining in the second period. However, an easy Eminence layup in the waning moments of the half, stretched the Eels' lead to 32-28.
After the third quarter, Eminence held a 41-33 lead, only to let the Clovers' fight back in the fourth.
But it was too little too late.
The Clovers move to 2-4 on the season. They host Greencastle Friday at 6 p.m.
Although the Clovers' defeated the Tiger Cubs earlier in the season, Cook isn't underscoring his opponent.
"They're a team that can do a lot of good things," he said. "Their post game with (Kyrian) Marhall killed us the first game. And (Stefanie) Masten has been shooting better.
"That's one of those deals where we're really fighting to get our head above water again," Cook said.
Eminence 16 16 9 12 -- 53
Cloverdale 15 13 5 18 -- 51
Eminence -- Kreamer 1 7-8 9, Mallott 4 2-2 10, Sinclair 8 2-10 18, Burns 0 1-3 1, K. Burns 1 0-0 2, Martin 5 0-0 13. Totals FG 19, FT 12-23, TP 53.
Cloverdale -- Arnold 0 0-0 0,Monnett 7 3-5 18, Puffer 3 0-0 8, Haltom 2 0-0 6, Koosman 6 5-7 19, Schroer 0 0-0, Moon 0 0-0. FG 18, FT 8-12, TP 51.
3pt. -- Eminence 3 (Martin 3), Cloverdale 7 (Puffer 2, Haltom 2, Koosman 2), Rebounds -- Eminence 34 (Mallott 10), Cloverdale 28 (Koosman 13), Assists -- Eminence 9 (Kraemer 4), Cloverdale 8 (Haltom 4), Steals -- Eminence 6 (Martin 4), Cloverdale 13 (Koosman 5).
JV -- The Clovers defeated Eminence, 24-8. Kristin McCammon led the Clovers with 11 points.
Next game -- The Clovers host Greencastle Friday at 6 p.m.