Cloverdale held close in the first half, trailing by only three at half but a third quarter blow up from the Pioneers put the game out of reach.
"The start of the third quarter, they got a jump on us and it really hurt us," Cloverdale coach Pat Rady said. "They were able to control the tempo for the rest of the game."
Providence opened the third quarter on fire as it went on a 15-0 run to put the Clovers behind the 8-ball and leaving them scrambling to get back into the game.
Luke Fitzgerald started the scoring for Providence, draining a three-pointer just 14 second in and Johnelle Hardin hit a bucket inside to keep the points coming. Hardin scored again with 4:30 remaining on the clock to give Providence the lead, 43-25.
Michael Neese stopped the scoring drought for the Clovers, hitting a bucket with 3:53 on the clock. Neese accounted for all of the Clovers eight points in the third quarter and kept the Clovers within striking distance.
As the fourth quarter opened, Seth Trinkle hit a three but Providence answered right back. After a two and a free throw from the Pioneers' Matthew Lilly, Christian Cheatham slashed inside for a bucket. Neese followed that with a long bomb, to bring the score to 56-41 with 4:46 remaining in the game.
With the game clock ticking down, Cloverdale upped the pressure on defense which resulted in Neese picking up his fifth foul and heading to the bench. Craig Blair hit a basket with three minutes on the clock, but it was too little, too late for the Clovers. Jason Salter ended Cloverdale's scoring, hitting a bucket as the quarter came to a close making the score, 61-45, ending the Clovers' run.
The first half saw an aggressive Cloverdale squad come out in the face of the Pioneers, battling toe-to-toe with the third-ranked powerhouse.
Cheatham connected on three free throws, after being fouled, to give the Clovers their first lead, 3-2. After Ryan Dean hit a free throw, Trinkle hit a two to tie the game, 6-all with 5:23 on the clock. Trinkle pushed the Clovers' lead to 14-11 as he hit two baskets as the opening quarter expired.
After losing the lead early in the second quarter, Neese provided some heroics to lift the roof off the gym. Neese blocked a shot on the defensive end, then tore down the court to receive a pass and collect the bucket to ignite an already raucous Cloverdale crowd.
But the crowd was soon silenced by two three-pointers from Fitzgerald to give Providence a 23-18 lead. The Clovers came out of a timeout and started chipping away at the lead. Trinkle, Blair and Cheatham scored five points to pull Cloverdale within three at 26-23. Cheatham put back a Neese miss, to send the Clovers into halftime trailing by only three.
Despite being the underdog in most polls, the Clovers stood eye-to-eye with the Pioneers and didn't blink.
"Bottom line is these kids have accomplished quite a lot," Rady said. "They never quit and I'm really proud of them.
"Experience is always very important. They were here last year, we just got a little frustrated."
Cloverdale closed its season with an 18-7 record.
Southridge Class 2A Regional
Cloverdale 14 11 8 12 -- 45
Providence 11 17 20 13 -- 61
Cloverdale (18-7, 5-1 WCC) -- Moon 0-0 0-0 0, Neese 5-16 2-2 13, Blair 3-8 2-4 8, Trinkle 4-5 1-2 10, Cheatham 3-6 3-3 9, Shoulders 0-0 0-0 0, Gregg 0-0 0-0 0, Hacker 0-1 0-0 0, Salter 1-1 0-0 2, Dean 1-1 1-4 3. Totals 17-38 FG, 9-15 FT, 45 TP.
Providence (21-3) -- Coots 0-0 0-0 0, Lilly 2-6 3-6 7, Fitzgerald 4-10 3-6 17, Hardin 2-7 4-5 8, Schueler 0-1 0-0 0, Benedetti 4-13 2-2 12, Coombs 4-7 1-2 9, Koetter 1-1 0-0 2, Leist 2-3 2-2 6. Totals 20-48 FG, 15-23 FT, 61 TP.
3-pt. FG - C 2-10 (Neese 1-7, Trinkle 1-1), P 6-15 (Fitzgerald 4-7). Rebounds -- C 17 (Neese 5, Cheatham 5), P 34 (Lilly 9). Blocks -- C 2 (Neese 1, Cheatham 1), P 0. Assists -- C 5 (Cheatham 3), P 12 (Fitzgerald 3, Hardin 3, Benedetti 3). Steals -- C 9 (Trinkle 3), P 4 (Lilly 1, Fitzgerald 1, Coombs 1, Koetter 1). Total fouls -- C 19, P 14. Fouled out -- Neese (C), Trinkle (C). Turnovers -- C 13, P 10.