Utilizing stifling defensive pressure in the second half and overcoming a dreadful shooting performance in the first half, the Cloverdale girls were able to escape with a 38-36 victory Friday night in a hotly contested battle with fellow WCC frontrunner Cascade.
After 16 minutes, the Clovers appeared to be on the ropes, trailing 19-12.
Living and dieing with the three, Cloverdale was mostly doing the latter, managing just 14 percent from the field in the opening half.
Cacade's Samantha Marshall and Kaitie Nease combined to give the Lady Clovers fits in the first half, as Nease connected for eight points and Marshall grabbed five boards and dished out three assists.
Cloverdale utilized a zone press early, and was able to bother the Cadets, but for the most part, was unable to create any turnovers off it.
After the intermission, the Clovers switched to a man press, and according to Cloverdale coach Bruce Cook, it had an effect.
"I think going to man pressure was a big turning point for us," he said.
Forcing several Cascade turnovers and turning up the defensive intensity changed the tone of the ballgame in the third quarter.
A bucket by Cloverdale's Chelsea Haltom at the 2:35 mark cut Cascade's lead to two points, 26-24, and was a huge momentum shifter for the Clovers.
Cloverdale began to find the basket a more respectable pace, connecting on 38 percent of its field goals in the quarter.
The final quarter was a nip and tuck as the Clovers continued their stellar defensive play and took their first lead of the game 30-29 when Ashley Koosman connected on the front end of a one and one opportunity with 3:55 remaining.
The Cadets managed to knot things up at 31-31 with under three minutes remaining, but Cloverdale's Kristin McCammon drained a three at the 1:56 mark to put the Clovers up by three 36-33.
The two sides traded turnovers on their next possessions, but the Cadets answered with just 24 ticks left, as Cascade's Kate Miller nailed a game-tying trifecta to once again deadlock the contest.
An ensuing technical foul on Cook threatened to prove disastrous to Cloverdale's valiant comeback effort, however Nease missed both free throws, and the Cadets were whistled for a five-second call on their inbounds set.
Koosman was fouled by Nease on the Clovers final possession, and calmly sank both free throws to put Cloverdale up 38-36 with 18.3 seconds remaining.
"Koosman's free throws were huge," said Cook.
Cascade put up three shots in attempt to send the game into overtime, most notably Alex Morgan's wide open put-back, which hung precariously on the rim and dropped off as time expired.
Koosman led a balanced scoring attack for the Clovers, finishing with 13 points. McCammon added eight, and Haltom chipped in seven. Nease led all scorers with 18 points for the Cadets.
Cloverdale moves to 8-7 on the season with the victory, 2-1 in the West Central Conference.
They host South Vermillion today at 2:30 p.m.
Cascade 11 8 8 9 -- 36
Cloverdale 7 5 12 14 -- 38
Next Game -- The Clovers (8-7, 2-1) face South Vermillion at home today at 2:30 p.m.