"We had 10 (losses) in a row, we really needed one, so this was a great one to get. We were down so much at halftime," Cloverdale head coach James Wade said following the contest.
The Clovers found themselves down 15 points after North Putnam put on a clinic in the first half. They shot 50 percent from the floor and had the game easily in hand. But as in so many games, this one came down to the final seconds and one of the basics of basketball.
"I thought we played a great first half," Cougar head coach Kevin Smith said. "We did everything we wanted to do. We executed offensively, defensively, we hit shots, and we rebounded well. Everything we wanted to do, we did."
The Cougars owned the first half, but the second was a different story. They held a sizable advantage after three quarters, leading 31-19, but the fourth quarter belonged to the Clovers.
Cloverdale began chipping away at the lead and pulled within five at the 1:41 mark. From that point, the Cougars missed eight free throws that allowed the Clovers to crawl back into it.
Down three with 13.8 remaining, senior Kristin McCammon drilled a three from the corner, bringing the gym alive, but it wasn't that last time things got lively.
With 4.3 left in the contest, North Putnam missed their second free throw attempt, but Taylor Alles came up with the ball and put the ball up and in as the buzzer sounded. The North Putnam crowd erupted, but their cheers quickly turned to outrage as the official rushed to mid-court, whistle blowing and waved the shot off. If the Cougars were going to win it, they would have to do it in overtime.
The overtime period went as the fourth had, as Cloverdale outscored the Cougars nine-to-five to snap their losing streak.
"Really we played possession basketball," Wade explained. "We'd go down and get a stop, then go down and be patient. We actually ran our offense better than we have for a while. We took care of the ball and did a lot of good things."
The Cougars converted on just 4-of-19 free throws in the game, a fact that stunned Smith. Against a previous opponent, they had shot 80 percent and are shooting 60 percent on the season, so Friday's performance was something not typical for the Cougar squad.
"For us to come out and shoot 21 percent from the line, it was a shock and it was a shock to the girls too," he added.
Cloverdale received a lift off the bench from Holly McCammon. She came and gave the Clovers six crucial points, including a two pointer with 1:04 remaining in overtime that put them in the lead for good.
"Everyone who came in really contributed," Wade said. "They played within the game and didn't try to go off on their own -- they knew what their role was."
It's a quick turnaround for the Cougars, as they will host WCC foe Cascade tonight. Smith told his squad following the loss "there's not time to dwell on this. We have to get back in the saddle and get ready to go tomorrow night."
Wade is looking farther down road and hopes the win on Friday propels his team toward tournament play with a newfound confidence.
"Just in the last week... we're moving in the right direction. We've struggled all year, it's no secret, but we've improved all year. We're climbing that hill and we want to be at that peek by the time sectional starts," Wade commented smiling.
The Cougars will host Cascade tonight at 6 p.m., while the Clovers will have a week off before traveling north to South Putnam Friday at 6 p.m.
North Putnam 17 9 5 7 5 -- 43
Cloverdale 8 3 8 19 9 -- 47
North Putnam -- McGaughey 12, E. Crosby 9, Alles 6, Malayer 6, Robinson 6, L. Crosby 2, Frye 2. Totals: 17-49 FG 4-19 FT 43 TP.
Cloverdale -- Cheatham 11, Franklin 10, K. McCammon 9, H. McCammon 6, Shepherd 6, McCallie 5. Totals: 16-42 FG 11-17 FT 47 TP.
3-pt FG -- North Putnam 5 (McGaughey 3, Malayer 2), Cloverdale 2 (Franklin, McCammon).
Next game -- The Cougars will host Cascade tonight at 6 p.m., while the Clovers will have a week off before traveling north to South Putnam Friday at 6 p.m.