Cloverdale girls' basketball Coach Bruce Cook is starting to see some change. After losing five of six games and falling to 3-7 on the season, things are on the rise for Cloverdale.
Led by a scrappy defensive effort, the Clovers won their third straight game Monday, defeating a struggling West Vigo team, 57-41, at Cloverdale.
Hannah Monnett led the Clovers with 14 points, while Ashley Koosman scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Cloverdale had 17 steals in the contest, with Monnett, Chelsie Haltom and Puffer each recording five.
Junior Heather Moon had her second double-digit scoring game in a row, scoring 11 points on four field goals for the Clovers in the post. Cook was happy to see a Cloverdale player establish a scoring threat down low.
"I thought she was impressive inside," Cook said. "She really is coming around for us. Our post play is really what has been deficient for us."
The Clovers faced an early deficit, with West Vigo starting the game with an 8-2 run. However, a Haltom 3-pointer, followed by a Koosman free throw with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter closed the gap to 8-6.
The Vikings took a slight 14-13 lead into the second period.
"I just never felt like that we were very crisp tonight," Cook said.
When Koosman stole the ball and converted a layup, giving Cloverdale a 21-20 lead with four minutes remaining in the half, the Clovers started heating up. Two plays later, Haltom ripped an inbound pass, Stephanie Tutterow grabbed an offensive board and scored, giving Cloverdale a 23-22 lead with just under three minutes remaining.
Despite West Vigo making a spirited push in the final quarter, pulling to as close as seven points, Cloverdale held the lead for the remainder of the game.
"I don't want to say that I wasn't worried, but I really had a lot of confidence in our girls," Cook said.
In particular, Haltom, the team point guard was in foul trouble for much of the fourth quarter. When she reentered the game with three minutes remaining in the game, Cook could rest a little easier.
"When she's on the bench, everybody else has to pick it up a level," Cook said of Haltom. "She takes care of the ball for us, starts our offense and defensively gets her hands on so many balls.
"She's really made so much progress since her freshmen year coming in her," he added. "It makes coaching enjoyable. She's the kind of kid that people coach for."
Cook also had praise for the effort Monnett contributed on both sides of the floor.
"Offensively, she's been right where we need her to be, but she's really picked it up on the defensive end," he said. "She's just a team leader for us -- a quiet leader -- but a team leader for us."
The Clovers are now 6-7 on the season, and play at Cascade Friday at 6 p.m. The Cadets defeated the Clovers 43-37 in the Brown County Tourney Dec. 30.
"We're the one that are in control of things, as far as our own destiny," Cook said. "It used to be we'd go in a game and hope that people didn't play well."
In junior Varsity action, Cloverdale defeated West Vigo, 39-20. Kristin McCammon led the Clovers with 19 points.
West Vigo 14 9 4 14 -- 41
Cloverdale 13 13 10 21 -- 57
West Vigo -- Klotz 1 0-0 2, Piper 3 4-4 10, Dreher 1 0-2 2, Gardner 7 3-5 17, Payne 3 1-2 7, Hunt 0 1-3 1, Stephens 1 0-0 2, Porter 0 0-0 0. Totals FG 16, FT 9-16 TP 41.
Cloverdale -- Puffer 2 0-0 6, Arnold 2 0-0 4, Monnett 4 6-6 14, Moon 4 3-3 11, Tutterow 1 0-0 2, Haltom 1 5-7 7, Koosman 5 2-10 12. Totals FG 19, FT 16-26, TP 57.
3 pt. -- West Vigo 0, Cloverdale 2 (Puffer 2), Rebounds -- West Vigo 30 (Piper 8), Cloverdale 31 (Koosman 11), Assists -- West Vigo 8 (Dreher 3), Cloverdale 11 (Puffer 3, Koosman 3), Steals -- West Vigo 7 (Payne 3), Cloverdale 17 (Puffer 5, Monnett 5, Haltom 5).
JV -- Cloverdale defeated West Vigo, 39-20.
Next game -- Cloverdale plays at Cascade Friday at 6 p.m.