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CHS continues to improve, downs Eels 56-43

Monday, January 7, 2008

Cloverdale's Ashley Koosman fires up a shot over a Clay City defender during the Clovers 56-43 victory Saturday. Cloverdale moves to 9-3 on the season.

Sports Writer

CLOVERDALE -- An explosive fourth quarter, powered by 10 points from junior Elizabeth Cheatham, handed the Clovers their ninth win of the season over Clay City 56-43.

"All-in-all I thought we played a pretty good game," CHS head coach Bruce Cook said.

The Clovers are on a hot streak, winning eight of their last nine games. Aggressiveness on both sides of the ball has given the Clovers the advantage over their opponents and has them sitting atop the West Central Conference standings with a 3-0 record.

The Clovers played a very consistent game on Saturday, averaging 12 points over the first three quarters but in the fourth quarter they erupted for 21 points to pull away for the Eels.

Cloverdale held to only a five point lead heading into the final quarter but the Clovers went to what they do so well; pushing the ball up the court and finding Cheatham in the middle.

In addition to Cheatham, Chelsie Haltom scored four points in the fourth and Allie Franklin connected on three timely free throws for the Clovers.

Cheatham has emerged as a powerful force inside for the Clovers, with good hands and the ability to knock down shots at the charity stripe. But Cook doesn't think his center is being utilized to her fullest potential.

"We didn't look enough into Cheatham," he said. "I think Cheatham is always a go-to person for us and I'm not sure she's getting enough touches on the offensive end."

The Clovers started the game well after falling behind by four points early. Cheatham score four in the opening quarter and Kayla Shepherd added five, including one from beyond the arc as the Cloves built a four-point lead after one.

In the second, Clay City stayed bucket-for-bucket with Cloverdale but a three-pointer from Kristin McCammon and buckets from Koosman, Shepherd, Cheatham and Allie Franklin extended the lead to seven at 25-18 at the half. The most impressive aspect of the Clovers lead was they made zero trips to the line in the first half.

The Clovers attempted to implement a new offense on Saturday but Cook acknowledged the results were less than stellar, so he went back to what they do best and the outcome was apparent.

"We knew we wanted to run," Cook acknowledged. "That' was part of the gameplan going in. We wanted to get up and down the floor and thought maybe it would pay off in the second half for us. That's (Ashley) Koosman's type of game again. She's so athletic and runs up and down the floor and kind of gets into the game where she doesn't want to be real structured, not be real patterned and that's Koosman's type of game."

Defense was also a key in the Clovers victory as Haltom and Shepherd continued their impressive defensive play. Even with the aggressiveness the Clovers took to the Eels, they were only whistled for three fouls in the first half.

"Chelsie (Haltom) creates a lot of problems for offenses. She around the ball and anticipate really well. I think that's big for us, it starts a lot of things off for us," Cook commented.

"The big plus is Kayla Shepherd. She's quick and anticipates well and I think when (Kristen) Schroer went down, Shepherd had to step in and play. She's become a better player on the defensive end."

The Clovers (9-3, 3-0 WCC) will host West Vigo at 7:30 p.m. today.

At Cloverdale

At Cloverdale

Clay City 10 8 12 13 -- 43

Cloverdale 14 11 10 21 -- 56

Clay City (9-4) -- Glass 2 6-8 11, Camp 4 1-3 9, Farmer 4 0-0 8, Targett 3 2-2 8, Reed 2 0-0 4, Steiner 1 1-1 3. Totals: 16-49 FG 10-14 FT 43 TP.

Cloverdale (9-4) -- Cheatham 8 3-6 21, Shepherd 4 0-3 10, Haltom 4 0-0 8, McCammon 2 0-0 6, Koosman 3 0-0 6, Franklin 1 3-5 5. Totals: 22-57 FG 6-14 FT 56 TP.

3pt. FG -- Cloverdale 4 (Shepherd, McCammon).

'Total Fouls -- Clay City 13, Cloverdale 12. Fouled out -- none.

Next game -- The Clovers (9-3) will host West Vigo at 7:30 p.m. today.

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