EMINENCE -- Cloverdale trailed by as many as 10 points in their boys' varsity basketball contest at Eminence, and was tied with as little as two minutes remaining in Saturday's make-up contest. However, the Clovers took control late, en route to a 62-55 victory.
After a rather rough game with Edgewood on Wednesday, Cloverdale coach Pat Rady was happy for his team to get a victory heading into the tournament.
"I think it was very important to finish with a win. I think it really helped us get some confidence back going into the sectional, especially the way we did it--we struggled. Things weren't going our way for a while and Eminence was playing extremely well. I thought they played with a lot of passion, a lot of emotion and played some good basketball," Rady said.
Eminence coach Todd Shupe's comments sounded a lot like some of Rady's throughout the season--his team struggled to play at a consistent level for the whole evening.
"It's a tough loss to take," Shupe mulled. "We were up by double figures at one time; we seem to be a one-half team.
"We've played a lot of teams well, hard, for one half this season, and then things have just kind of gone downhill many times in the second half."
Eminence played a solid first half; the Eels led by as many as 10 points throughout the first two quarters en route to a 33-29 halftime lead, but the hosts faltered in the second half.
Cloverdale ran off a 6-0 spurt to open the third period, and that's where it got rough for Eminence.
The Eels fought to stay within striking distance of Cloverdale, keeping the game within single digits for the remainder of the contest, and actually led again at 45-42 as the fourth quarter got underway.
Cloverdale quickly regained its advantage, though, and after a tie at 55-55, the Clovers kept control for the remainder of the contest.
"The ball wasn't dropping for us. We were having trouble. It was the kind of game where we persevered," Rady said. The kids stayed with it and kept working at it, and I thought the second half, we got better as a team. We held them to 19 points in the second half. And we increased our points."
Eminence was forced to foul in order to stop the game clock and regain possession; Cloverdale meanwhile connected on 5-of-5 free throws as the Eels fell to 2-18 on the season with the loss. Craig Blair led the Clovers in scoring with 22 points. Cloverdale finishes the regular season with a record of 8-13.
Senior Craig Blair led the Clovers with 22 points. Brandon Moon was next with 17. Ryan Dean had eight points.
Jordan Shupe led the Eels with 24 points while grabbing 11 rebounds; fellow senior Cameron Ford along with junior James Lawson dropped in eight points each.
The Eels finish the regular season 2-18 and travel to Edinburgh at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday for a sectional matchup with the host Lancers.
Cloverdale will open sectional play at South Putnam on Tuesday when they battle Speedway, a team that the Clovers lost to by a 58-51 count on Feb. 1. However, Rady feels the regular season-ending win should give the Clovers some momentum.
"It was a game that should give us some confidence," Rady said. "We just couldn't get out the gate. I was pleased with the way we persevered on the road to get a win.
"Now we're looking forward to a good practice on Monday and getting ready to play Speedway on Tuesday," he concluded.
The contest between Cloverdale and Speedway will tip off at approximately 7:30 p.m.
|Cloverdale||9 19 16 18 -- 62|
|Eminence||15 21 10 9 -- 55|
Cloverdale (8-13, 3-3 WCC) -- Blair 22, Moon 17, R. Dean 8, Young 5, Hayden 5, Randall 2, Salter 2, K. Dean 1.