Showcasing the future stars of Putnam County girls' basketball, Cloverdale hosted the Putnam County Junior Varsity Tournament Saturday.
The Cloverdale girls' junior varsity basketball team won its third straight game and the championship, defeating South Putnam 30-24.
It wasn't exactly the prettiest game, but Cloverdale Coach Curt Cumming was pleased to see his team get the job done.
"We pulled it out," Cumming said. "They played good when they needed to."
Elizabeth Cheatham led the Clovers in scoring with nine points, while grabbing five rebounds and blocking two shots. Kristin McCammon scored seven points in the game, while Kayla Shepherd had four assists.
South Putnam was led in scoring by Leah Butts with seven points, while pulling down a game-high six rebounds. Lauren Haynes added five rebounds, while Oceaia Boetjer had six points and two assists for the Eagles.
Despite losing the game, South Putnam Coach Kate Atkinson was not disappointed in her team's performance.
"This is the best we've played all year," she said. "We've struggled doing the little things and putting points on the board. But as an overall team effort, just playing together and playing hard, this was definitely our two best games."
The game started a lot hotter than it ended. A pullup jumper from Alesha Evans followed by an easy bucket from McCammon started Cloverdale with a 4-0 early lead.
The Eagles answered with Butts hitting two free throws, and Danielle McHugh hitting Boetjer in the lane to tie the score at 4-4.
Cloverdale held a slight, 12-11 lead going into the first quarter.
The second quarter saw Cloverdale's press force 10 South Putnam turnovers. Both teams struggled to find the basket, only scoring four points each, with Cloverdale holding a 16-15 advantage at the break.
"Our press hits a lot of people. It shakes them up a little bit," Cummings said. "We get some easy buckets off that press."
The third quarter was the turning point of the game, as the Eagles still struggled to get things going offensively, while Cloverdale had better luck. The Clovers outscored the Eagles 9-3 in the quarter, taking a 25-18 lead into the final stanza.
Although the Eagles outscored the Clovers five to six in the final period, there was too little offense to get the job done. Atkinson credited the Cloverdale press with creating confusion on offense.
"We weren't keeping our heads up and seeing the open girl," she said. "We weren't looking before we passed the ball. We got in a rush."
Defensively, Cummings knew Butts was going to be the focal point of the Eagles' offense. Although Butts managed to score a team-high seven points, Cummings thought they did a good job containing her.
"We had to take that post play out from Leah Butts," he said. "We focused on that, and I think we did a pretty good job of stopping that."
Butts scored 12 points in South Putnam's earlier 28-25 victory over Greencastle in the preliminary round of the tournament.
The Clovers' defeated North Putnam, 31-16, in the opening round of the tournament. McCammon had 11 points in the game.
When asked who Cummings was impressed with Saturday, he couldn't name one in particular person, who led Cloverdale to victory.
"All of eight of them," he said. "Every one of them is a freshman. This is only our fifth our sixth game. They don't know me yet, and I don't know them, but we're getting there."
Atkinson was equally impressed with her team's effort after the game. Knowing there is still a long season ahead, she wasn't about to give her team anything but words of optimism.
"Yeah, it's not the outcome you want," Atkinson said. "They don't have any reason to hang their heads today. They're winners because they've made improvements and gotten better. We can only move forward."
Putnam County Junior Varsity Tournament
Cloverdale -- Bond 0 0-0 0, Cheatham 4 1-1 9, Evans 3 0-0 6, Franklin 2 0-2 4, Gordon 0 0-0 0, McCammon 2 2-5 7, Shepherd 1 1-2 4. Totals FG 12, FT 4-10, TP 30.
South Putnam - Haynes 0 1-2 1, McHugh 0 0-0 0, Trauner 1 3-6 6, Minor 1 0-2 2, 1 0-2 2, Boetjer 2 2-5 6, Butts 2 3-4 7. FG 7, FT 8-20, TP 24.
3 pt. - Cloverdale 2 (McCammon 1, Shepherd 1), South Putnam 0, Rebounds - Cloverdale 15 (Evans 5), South Putnam 18 (Butts 6), Assists - Cloverdale 7 (Shepherd 4), South Putnam 4 (Boetjer 2), Blocks - Cloverdale 3 (Cheatham 2), South Putnam 0.