CLOVERDALE -- Bruce Cook must be thanking the basketball gods after the Cloverdale girls defeated South Putnam in a hotly contested WCC matchup, 41-37, Friday evening.
The Eagles jumped out quickly, scoring on their first three possessions of the game, and led 6-2 at the 6:00 mark of the first quarter. Two threes by Kristin McCammon, however, kept the Clovers close as they trailed by two, 13-11, after the opening eight minutes.
South Putnam focused on keeping the ball away from Cloverdale's post player, Elizabeth Cheatham, and essentially banked on making the Clovers beat them from the outside. Coach Debbie Steffy's strategy nearly worked, as the Clovers went 0-6 from beyond the arc in the second period and trailed, 25-19, at the half.
"Cheatham and McCammon both had 15 against us the last time we played them, so we tried to take care of Cheatham. I thought our post players played well, and for two and a half quarters, they played into our hands," Steffy commented after the ballgame.
Clearly, South was in control of the contest, as they held a 29-21 advantage at the 4:32 mark of the third quarter. That's when the wheels fell off for the Eagles, as they were only able to notch eight more points in the contest.
Not that the Eagles didn't have their opportunities. South went to the line eight times in the final period, but converted on only one. For the contest, South Putnam was 5-18 from the charity stripe for a miserable 27 percent.
In the end, it was the inspired play of senior Ashley Koosman that helped the Clovers overcome a relatively poor performance and move to 14-4 on the 2007-8 campaign. Koosman led the Clovers with 11 points, and received Cook's praise at the game's conclusion: "She just hates to lose," said Cook.
Cook also pointed to the bench play, particularly that of Allie Franklin, as one of the keys to his club's win. "Allie gave us some good minutes tonight...her enthusiasm made things happen...she was probably the difference tonight."
South was led by Meghan Canary, who scored a game-high 13 points.
Cloverdale (14-4, 4-1 WCC) hosts Shakamac, Jan. 29. South Putnam (8-10, 1-4 WCC) hosts Clay City, Jan.29.
South Putnam 13 12 6 6 -- 37
Cloverdale 11 8 14 8 -- 41