CLOVERDALE -- Sometimes, the best bang for your entertainment buck is a good old Indiana high school basketball barn burner.
Such was the case Saturday as two quality squads battled it out in Cloverdale, with Owen Valley coming away with a hard-fought 67-61 victory.
Both teams played up-tempo for the duration of the contest, and mirrored each other offensively. The possessions were quick and plentiful, as both teams tried to take advantage of their quickness and ability hit the spot-up jumper.
After the first eight minutes, the Patriots held a slim 18-17 lead, but were able to extend the margin to 35-27 at the intermission, thanks to a 7-0 run midway through the second quarter.
The Clovers opened the second half on a 5-0 run, thanks to a Michael Neese three at the 7:17 mark, to close Owen Valley's margin to 35-32. Cloverdale's Christian Cheatham dominated the paint throughout the stanza, collecting 11 of his game-high 25 points. At the end of the third quarter, the Patriots still clung to a precarious three point lead, 50-47.
Another Neese trey with 7:07 left in the contest gave Cloverdale its first lead of the second half, 52-50, but a dry spell lasting nearly three and a half minutes enabled Owen Valley to regain the lead 56-52 with 3:40 left.
A steal and a converted lay up by Neese, followed by two Cheatham free throws, knotted things up once again 56-56 with 3:02 to go, but the Clovers were never to lead again. Owen Valley's Trace Temples hit a clutch three at the 1:12 mark to put the Patriots up by five, and outstanding free throw shooting down the stretch left Cloverdale on the short end, as they fell to 11-5 on the season.
Owen Valley, which improved to 12-4 was led by Jared Maners, who scored 18 points, eight in the decisive fourth quarter.
Cloverdale coach Pat Rady was impressed by both teams' play.
"(The Patriots) have some fine players. It was a game with two good ball clubs, they just got the better of us tonight," said Rady. "We don't over-emphasize wins, and we don't dwell on losses. We just need to prepare for a good Speedway team on Friday."
Owen Valley 18 17 15 17 -- 67
Cloverdale 17 10 20 14 -- 61
Next Game -- The Clovers face Speedway at home Friday.