ROCKVILLE - The Cloverdale Clovers boys' basketball team traveled to Rockville Friday night, looking forward to battling the Rox in the "Rock-a-Dome" and hoping to improve their season record to 13-5.
The Clovers had not played a game since a 80-79 West Central Conference win against Speedway on Feb. 2, and because of the weather and the school closings this past week, Cloverdale had not had a full practice in eight days.
Playing before a packed crowd celebrating senior night, the Clovers pulled out a hard fought victory over the Rox, 58-53.
Rockville took command of the game in the opening half, leading 19-16 at the end of the first quarter, and 34-26 at halftime.
But Cloverdale battled back in the second half, using a tenacious defense that disrupted Rockville's offense and forced the Rox to commit 11 turnovers after only turning the ball over four times in the first half.
The Clovers also outscored the Rox 32-19 in the second half by using a balanced, ball movement offense that allowed Craig Blair, Seth Trinkle, Ryan Shoulders, Christian Cheatham and Michael Neese to score after halftime.
The Clovers trailed Rockville the entire game until the 6:56 mark in the fourth quarter when Cheatham stole a Rockville pass, dished the ball to Blair who passed the ball back to Cheatham for the score and Cloverdale's first lead of 47-45.
Rockville regained the lead again, and seemed to hold the upper hand with 1:13 left in the game, leading the visitors, 53-52, but Blair stole a Rockville pass and scored and Neese was able to score six points in the final 38.9 seconds of the game to seal Cloverdale's 13th win of the season.
Rockville had scored 19 points in the first quarter, but Cloverdale's defense limited the Rox to 19 points in the entire second half.
The Clovers won the game by stealing the ball from the Rox nine times, forcing Rockville to commit 15 turnovers, and by hitting 51 percent of their 2-point shots and 36 percent of their 3-point shots from the field.
"Our players really deserved this one tonight," commented Cloverdale coach Pat Rady after the game. "They played some fine defense in the last quarter, and I think that was some of the best defense that we have played this year. We challenged our players going into the last quarter, that defense what was going to win this game for us.
"I was very proud of our total effort," Rady added.
Blair led the Clovers with 22 points while Neese finished with 20. Trinkle and Cheatham both had seven points while Shoulders added two.
Neese pulled down nine rebounds while Blair and Cheatham grabbed five each.
Blair and Cheatham passed out four assists each.
In the junior varsity game, Cloverdale lost to Rockville, 47-33.
Brandon Moon led the Clovers with 12 points, followed by Jason Salter with eight.
The Clovers (13-5, 5-1 WCC) travel to Edgewood today to play the Mustangs. The junior varsity game begins at 6 p.m.
Cloverdale 16 10 17 15 -- 58
Rockville 19 15 11 8 -- 53
Cloverdale (13-5, 5-1 WCC) -- Neese 8-15 2-2 20, Blair 9-19 3-5 22, Trinkle 3-5 0-0 7, Cheatham 3-9 0-3 7, Shoulders 1-2 0-0 2, Gregg 0-0 0-0 0, Hacker 0-0 0-0 0, Dean 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-51 FG, 5-10 FT, 58 TP.
Rockville (12-8, 6-1 WRC) -- Reed 1-1 2-2 4, Bridge 1-13 0-4 2, Mahurin 12-22 4-5 29, McMullen 0-1 2-2 2, Taylor 2-4 2-2 6, King 1-10 0-0 2, Vauters 4-9 0-0 8. Totals 21-60 FG, 10-15 FT, 53 TP.
3-pt. FG - C 5-14 (Neese 2-7), R 1-15 (Mahurin 1-4). Rebounds - C 30 (Neese 9), R 33 (Mahurin 11). Blocks -- C 0, R 1 (Mahurin 1). Assists -- C 12 (Blair 4, Cheatham 4), R 14 (Bridge 5). Steals -- C 9 (Blair 3, Cheatham 3), R 6 (Reed 2, Vauters 2). Total fouls -- C 17, R 12. Fouled out -- Dean (CHS). Turnovers -- C 10, R 15.
Junior Varsity -- Cloverdale lost, 47-33.
Next game -- The Clovers (13-5, 5-1 WCC) travel to Edgewood today on the road.