LIZTON -- Christmas came early for the Cloverdale boys' basketball team as they faced the Tri-West Bruins Saturday night. The Clovers were able to use the gift of teamwork to come away with a 63-59 win.
Cloverdale won the tip but committed a turnover, which enabled Tri-West to score first. However, that didn't stop the Clovers.
With 3:27 to go in the first, Tri-West called a timeout to regroup and settle. However, Cloverdale didn't need to regroup because they were already playing relaxed and smoothly.
Coach Eric Rauch must have done something right during the timeout because the Bruins' Randall Lowe hit a three-pointer right after it was over. And under a minute later, Austin Hendershot, also of the Bruins, hit another one.
The Bruins weren't the only ones knocking them down.
Cloverdale's Jason Salter hit one of his four three pointers on the night. The entire Clover lineup was helping in the effort that allowed them to end the quarter with a 21-10 lead.
Two main aspects of the second quarter that hurt the Clovers were missed rebounds and turnovers. A few Jacob Clark's three pointers and Link Lovins' inside work helped in maintaining the Clovers' lead.
With 2:44 to go, the Clovers called a timeout to collect themselves and move players around.
But it was Tri-West who came alive and capitalized on errors by Cloverdale, but the Clovers were able to end the half leading 32-20.
After the half, the Bruins were once again the first to score. It seemed that the Bruins had finally came to play, but with 6:46 left in the third, Cloverdale called another timeout to regain focus on the game plan. With the combination of missed rebounds and scoring opportunities, Cloverdale once again allowed the Bruins to catch up and cut the Clover lead, eventually tying the ball game at 34-all with three minutes to go in the quarter.
Salter of Cloverdale was able to drive to the basket, score two points, and draw the foul giving the Clovers a three-point lead. But the Bruins weren't giving up the fight. The quarter ended with the Clovers still leading 42-39.
The fourth and final quarter proved to be the most difficult for the Clovers.
Lane Cheatum of Tri-West was able to sink a three pointer that allowed the Bruins to have their first lead since the first minute of the game. However, a long pass to Lovins for a basket and Brandon Moon's free throw allowed the Clovers to regain a lead.
With 4:44 to play, Eric Kukman's back-to-back baskets helped extend that lead. Tri-West was still playing man-to-man defense, but Cloverdale was able to maintain and even build their lead to 56-48 with 1:48 to go.
But the game was far from over.
The Bruins were able to once again capitalize on fouls and errors by the Clovers to come within three.
With 25 seconds to go, Cloverdale's Jordan Hayden was at the line and hit one of two, but his teammate Lovins was able to get the rebound, draw the foul, and sink both of his free-throws giving the Clovers a little breathing room.
Tri-West called a timeout with 15 seconds to go in attempt to come up with a winning game plan, but it was too late and the Clovers were able to come out on top 63-59.
Cloverdale head coach Pat Rady was very pleased with his team and how they played on the night.
"I was very proud of the way the players played tonight," Rady said. "We finally were able to pull one out that could've gone either way. We had some critical decisions that were made in the last two minutes that helped us.
"Our defense was able to stay strong and I was also pleased with the ball movement. We were also able to hit crucial shots, which helped a lot tonight. Another thing was our good teamwork. We were able to pull together and come out with a win," Rady commented.
Cloverdale 21 32 42 63
Tri-West 10 20 39 59
Clovers -- Salter 21, Lovins 12, Moon 11, Clark 8, Kukman 6, Dean 4, Hayden 1
JV results were not available at press time.
Next game -- The Clovers face North Davies at the Graber Post Tournament at North Davies December 30th.