MONTEZUMA -- The Cloverdale Clovers boys' basketball team traveled to Riverton Parke Saturday night to play the Panthers in the first game of the 2006-2007 season, hoping to answer some questions.
The Clovers graduated 72% of their scoring last season from a team that ended the season with a 19-4 record. How would that scoring be replaced?
Riverton Parke's 2005-2006 team had won a Sectional title and tied the school record with 15 wins. How would the Clovers match-up defensively with the Panthers?
The Clovers, using multiple offenses that provided balanced scoring, and a stingy half-court defense that forced Riverton Parke to commit numerous turnovers, earned their first victory of the season, 63-48.
Riverton Parke led the visitors throughout the first quarter, with Cloverdale tying the score at 11-11 with 11 seconds left in the stanza, but the Panthers hit a three-point shot at the buzzer to lead 14-11 at the beginning of the second quarter.
Michael Neese, Ryan Dean, and Christian Cheatham scored for the Clovers in the first quarter.
In the second period, Cloverdale's offense and defense began to click, as Riverton Parke was limited to 10 points in the stanza, while the Clovers scored 19 points using an unselfish offense that allowed scoring by Cheatham, Ryan Shoulders, Neese, and Craig Blair.
The Clovers took a 30-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Cloverdale continued to dominate Riverton Parke after halftime, outscoring the Panthers 15-7 in the third quarter, as Blair,Cheatham, Kevin Gregg, and Neese provided balanced scoring in the stanza, giving the Clovers a 45-31 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Cloverdale opened-up its largest lead of the game of 18 points at 49-31, with 6:19 left in the game, then the Clovers' head coach, Pat Rady, had his team go into a four-corner offense.
Neese, Cheatham, and Blair were able to continue to score at will and the Clovers cruised to a 63-48 victory.
Cloverdale dominated every aspect of the game.
They hit 39 percent of their shots from the floor, hit 79% of their free throws, out-rebounded the Panthers, 32-24, blocked seven of Riverton Parke's shots, stole seven of the home team's passes, and only committed 12 turnovers while forcing Riverton Parke to commit 20.
The Cloverdale offense allowed six players to score, with three in double figures.
Seven of the Cloverdale players grabbed rebounds and five players had a least one steal.
"Before the game, we knew that we were going to have to play a pretty decent game to win tonight," commented coach Rady after the game.
"We knew that (Riverton Parke's coach) Michael (Menser) would have his guys playing to their best of their abilities tonight, and we were fortunate to win."
"Our players are learning different roles that they have to play this year, and when you lose 72% of your offense from the previous year, it's going to take time to get your offense going."
Cloverdale had three players who scored in double figures. Blair led the way with a game-high 24, Neese had 19, and Cheatham scored 14.
Shoulders, Gregg, and Dean closed-out the Clover scoring with two points each.
Dean pulled-down a game-high eight rebounds, and Neese and Cheatham grabbed seven each.
Dean had a game-high three blocked shots and Cheatham had two.
Neese and Blair had game-high two assists each.
Neese and Blair had game-high two steals each.
In the junior varsity game, Riverton Parke defeated Cloverdale, 29-32.
Aaron Dayhuff led the scoring for the Clovers with 12, followed by Robbie Randall with nine, Brandon Moon had six, and Michael Glassburn closed out the Cloverdale scoring with two points.
The Clovers (1-0, 0-0 WCC) play Greencastle in the first game of the Putnam County Classic tournament at Greencastle Friday night. The game will begin at 6:30.
At Riverton Parke
Cloverdale 11 19 15 18 -- 63
Riverton Parke 14 10 7 17 -- 48
Cloverdale (1-0, 0-0 WCC) Neese 5-16 8-8 19, Blair 7-14 8-11 24, Cheatham 5-13 3-4 14, Shoulders 1-2 0-0 2, Gregg 1-2 0-0 2, Hacker 0-0 0-0 0, Dean 1-4 0-1 2. Totals 20-51 FG, 19-24 FT, 63 TP.
Riverton Parke (0-1, 0-0 WRC) Kessinger 0-2 0-0 0, Pate 2-8 1-2 5, Engle 3-8 0-0 9, Helms 0-2 0-0 0, Mitchell 1-7 0-0 2, Vilbrandt 3-6 1-1 7, Wilson 2-4 0-0 6, Dailey 0-0 0-0 0, McMullen 5-14 6-10 19. Totals 16-51 FG, 8-13, FT, 48 TP.
3-pt. FG - C 4-17 (Neese 1-7, Blair 2-4, Cheatham 1-6), RP 8-29 (Kessinger 0-1, Pate 0-4, Engle 3-7, Mitchell 0-5, Wilson 2-4, McMullen 3-8). Rebounds - C 32 (Neese 7, Blair 4, Cheatham 7, Shoulders 2, Gregg 3, Hacker 1, Dean 8), RP 24 (Kessinger 1, Pate 2, Engle 3, Mitchell 3, Vilbrandt 4, Dailey 8, McMullen 3). Blocks -- C 7 (Neese 1, Blair 1, Cheatham 2, Dean 3), RP 1 (Wilson 1). Assists -- C 5 (Neese 2, Blair 2, Dean 1), RP 7 (Pate 3, Mitchell 2, Wilson 1, Dailey 1). Steals -- C 7 (Neese 2, Blair 2, Cheatham 1, Gregg 1, Dean 1), RP 3 (Pate 2, Engle 1). Total fouls -- C 12, RP 20. Fouled out -- Dean, Wilson, Dailey. Turnovers - C 12, RP 18.
Junior Varsity -- The Clovers lost, 29-32.
Next game -- The Clovers (1-0, 0-0 WCC) play Greencastle in the first game of the Putnam County Classic tournament at Greencastle Friday night. The game will begin at 6:30.