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MONTEZUMA -- There always seems to be a loss during the season that stings. For the Clovers, that sting just might their three-point loss to Riverton Parke Saturday 63-60.
In the second quarter it was more the same with the Clovers playing very aggressive full court defense and capitalizing on mistakes that the Panthers made to add to their lead. However, Cloverdale had struggles of their own and had to call a timeout with 3:47 left in the half to regroup and re-establish the game plan to keep Riverton Parke from scoring points.
The Panthers were able to come back and only allowed the Clovers a four-point lead before halftime.
After the break, the Clovers looked calm and collected like they had before the game had started.
Moon continued to be a big part of the Clover's game plan and made great effort to cause turnovers and score points every time the ball was in his hands.
Riverton Parke continued to be plagued with errors and Cloverdale was happy to take advantage and build their lead.
With 4:27 left in the quarter, the Panthers called a timeout and re-emphasized the game plan and the defensive strategy. Cloverdale loosened their defense while Riverton Parke tightened theirs and the game became very physical very quickly.
Fouls shots were one of the most frequent things featured in the fourth quarter.
The game quickly became a close game because of Riverton Parke's Eric Vaughn and Josh Wilson shooting multiple three pointers to catch-up wit the Clovers. The score was 61-57 in Cloverdale's favor when Riverton Parke called a timeout to regroup and settled before fighting to win the game.
Vaughn hit a three-pointer to bring the score to 61-60 then Eric Kukman of Cloverdale scored two points to boost the Clovers' lead to 66-62, but the Panthers' weren't done fighting. They came roaring back and cut the Clovers' lead due to the combination of fouls and turnovers by Cloverdale.
Cloverdale had a little fire left in them though.
Link Lovins, Moon, and Jordon Hayden were all vital parts in the Cloverdale game plan. However, it wasn't enough to stop the Panthers. Wilson from Riverton Parke hit a three-pointer and then forced a turnover and shot another three pointer at the last second to win the game 66-63.
After the contest, Cloverdale head coach Pat Rady emphasized that the lack of experience has played a part in the outcomes of the Clovers' games.
"I am pleased with the way that our boys played tonight, but I think that a big part of our problem is the fact that we only have one returning starter," he said. "We have a lot of young players that aren't used to playing varsity and I think that once they get use to playing varsity and playing together, they will flow better and things with turn out better for us.
"Hopefully we will have things turned around before next weekend's county tourney," Rady concluded.
Cloverdale will participate in the Putnam County Classic at Greencastle Friday. The first game begins at 6:30 p.m.
At Riverton Parke
Cloverdale 24 11 13 15 -- 63
Riverton Parke 15 16 9 26 -- 66
Cloverdale -- Kukman 13, Moon 13, Salter 12, Hayden 11, Lovins 10, Moore 2, Dean 2. Totals: FG 23-42 FT 14-24 TP 63.
Next game -- Cloverdale will participate in the Putnam County Classic at Greencastle Friday. The first game begins at 6:30 p.m.