Going into the third quarter of play Tuesday, the Cloverdale boys' varsity basketball team was just trying to find a way to win.
Leading Clay City, 35-29, the Clovers held a slight advantage at the break, but were having trouble delivering the knockout punch.
That was until the third quarter. The Clovers went on an eight minute tear Tuesday after halftime, putting together a 24-9 run that sealed the fate of the Eels. With hot shooting from outside and improved rebounding inside, Cloverdale defeated Clay City 68-49, moving to 4-1 on the season.
"This is a good ball club. They were 3-0. They play a controlled offense," Cloverdale Coach Pat Rady said. "We wanted to get a jump on them and then we were going to spread the floor."
The Clovers got a slight jump early, taking a 19-14 into the second quarter, and a six-point lead into halftime. But the big break didn't come until the third quarter, when the Clovers got hot.
Chase Haltom found Michael Neese for a three-point field goal to start the period, and then followed with a left handed layup. Six-foot-eight Luke Lovins converted a three-point play off an offensive rebound, making the score, 43-29. That capped an 11-0 run that started in the final two minutes of the second quarter.
Cloverdale went on to shoot the lights out for the remainder of the period. With three minutes remaining, Kyle McCammon hit back-to-back three pointers -- the second of which was three feet behind the three-point line. It became apparent it was just Cloverdale's night.
The Clovers hit 10 three-pointers in the game. McCammon hit four, scoring 18 points in the game. Haltom drained another four, scoring a game-high 25 points in the contest.
Haltom also had five assists and five rebounds in the game, tying Lovins for the team-high in rebounds. The Clovers outrebounded the Eels 23-22 in the game.
"I think we are going at the glass a little bit more," Rady said. "At least we outrebounded somebody. I don't think we've done that yet."
Clay City was led by junior Stephen Johnson, who scored 16 points, including four three-point field goals. Josey Vansickle added 14 points, while Garrett Thatcher scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the game.
"They're a well-coached ball club," Rady said. "They're well disciplined. They're fundamentally sound ball club. That's why when you can win like this, against a team like that, it's a very good win. Tonight was a quality win for us."
The Clovers travel to Monrovia Friday to play the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. They then host Tri-West Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
"We have to handle the pressure defense," Rady said. "Both those teams are very pressure defensive minded. So we've got to be able to take care of the basketball and get it in a position where we get some good shots."
The Clovers will be looking for their fourth straight win Friday, after losing to South Putnam in the first round of the Putnam County Tournament. Rady has already seen improvement this season, and looks for his team to continue to make strides.
"I hope that we can continue to improve," he said. "It's still early. But I think from what we did Saturday, and what we did tonight, there's a vast improvement."
Clay City 14 15 9 11 -- 49
Cloverdale 19 16 24 9 -- 68
Clay City -- Griffith 2 0-0 4, Vansickle 6 1-1 14, Jeffers 1 0-0 2, Schroer 1 0-0 2, Johnson 5 2-2 16, Thatcher 4 3-3 11. Totals FG 19, FT 6-6, TP 49.
Cloverdale -- Neese 3 2-3 10, Blair 1 0-0 2, Haltom 9 3-4 25, Cheatham 2 2-4 6, McCammon 5 3-3 18, Cooper 0 2-2 2, Lovins 2 1-1 5, Trinkle 0 0-0 0, Dean 0 0-0 0. Totals FG 22, FT 13-17, TP 68.
3pt. -- Clay City 5 (Johnson 4), Cloverdale 10 (Haltom 4, McCammon 4), Rebounds -- Clay City 22 (Thatcher 8), Cloverdale 23 (Haltom 5, Lovins 5), Assists -- Clay City 8 (Griffith 4), Cloverdale 10 (Haltom 5).
Next game -- Cloverdale plays at Monrovia Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Junior Varsity -- Clay City defeated Cloverdale, 55-38. Aaron Dayhuff led the Clovers with 13 points.