For The BannerGraphic
CLOVERDALE -- What could be better then a big win on Friday night for the Cloverdale Clovers boys' basketball team? A second big win on Saturday night.
Could the North Central Thunderbirds prevent this from happening? Not Saturday, as Cloverdale took the hard-fought contest 74-69 giving the Clovers the weekend sweep.
Both teams shot the lights out in the first quarter, two of Christian Cheatham's 14 points came by way of a fast break dunk, but for North Central it was all about the three-point line as the Thunderbirds hit five from behind the arc behind Andrew Gilman who was 3-of-4 from three-point land.
After the fireworks settled at the end of the first, Cloverdale trailed, 21-14.
The second quarter seemed to be much better for the Clovers as they started chipping away at the North Central lead. At the 6:58 mark the Clovers were down 25-14 and coach Pat Rady had seen enough, calling a time out.
After settling his troops down and the offense getting back on track, the Thunderbirds went cold from the three-point line, hitting only 1-of-7 from behind the arc while Cloverdale hit 9-of-14 shots in the quarter.
With 3:53 seconds to go, Craig Blair would hit a three to pull the Clovers to within five points at 30-25.
The Thunderbirds continued to struggle and the Clovers continued to be patient. At the two-minute mark, the Clovers took the lead for the first time at 31-30. Both teams traded baskets until the Clovers decided to hold the ball for the last shot before half.
Blair drove into the lane with four seconds to go and hit the shot at the buzzer to give the Clovers the lead at half 36-34.
The Third quarter was truly a back-and-forth contest with North Central getting its shooting woes under control and coming back with a vengeance, hitting 8-of-13 in the quarter.
But Blair went crazy in the thirrd and took the game over for the Clovers, scoring 10 points. At the end of three quarters nobody had an advantage with the score 52-all.
The Clovers tightened up the defense in the final period, while getting it done on the offensive side as well.
Gilman hit two clutch shots from behind the arc but the Clovers shot 6-of-9 from the field and hit the clutch free throws down the stretch.
Michael Neese was perfect from the free throw line going 6-for-6 in the fourth quarter while the team shot 10-for-15 from the free throw line.
"I am so proud of our team hanging in there," Rady said after the game. "We knew it was going to be a tough fight. They like to run like we do. They have two great shooters in Jimmy Swank and Andrew Gilman. We couldn't lose sight of them.
"Overall I am very pleased with our effort, we played two good teams this weekend and we got two good wins," Rady added. "We will work hard because we have two good teams next weekend."
The Clovers will take their 10-4 record into next weekends match up where they will face two tough opponents in Owen Valley and South Putnam. Cloverdale will face South Putnam Friday.
Cloverdale 14 22 16 22 -- 74
North Central 21 13 18 17 -- 69
Cloverdale -- Blair 26, Neese 18, Cheatham 14, Trinkle 12, Dean 4.
North Central -- Gilman 26, Swank 18, Woodard 10, Woodsman 9, Drake 4, Enstrom 2.
Next Game -- The Clovers face South Putnam Friday.