CLOVERDALE -- Anytime that two county schools play, emotions are bound to run high and that is exactly what happened Friday when the North Putnam Cougars traveled to county rival Cloverdale. The Clovers won 61-54.
North Putnam started off the game with Griffin Dahlstrom winning the tip to begin the game. However, the Cougars wouldn't score until almost two minutes into the quarter while Cloverdale's Brandon Moon took advantage of every situation and scored the first six points of the ball game.
Dahlstrom put the Cougars on the board by hitting both of his free-throws. It seemed as if the Clovers got everything to fall and knew exactly what North Putnam was going to do next.
After a timeout with 2:43 left in the quarter, Jerrett Ban and Cory Dean were able to hit shots that cut the Clover lead to only five. But Cloverdale was able to knock down a basket before the end of the quarter to increase their lead once again to 15-7 at the end of the quarter.
The Cougars had the first possession in the second quarter, but were unable to score. Cloverdale was being very aggressive and was able to out rebound the Cougars. However, Kyle Alcorn hit two three pointers and a foul shot to cut the Clovers' lead to only two points.
This didn't hamper the Clovers' efforts; if anything it made them more aggressive and made them play more as a team in attempt to stop the Cougars.
With 4:24, Cloverdale called a time out and saw that their lead had been cut to one by great teamwork and communication by North Putnam. After the timeout, Cloverdale was once again playing man-to-man defense and Moon seemed to be able to hit anything that he shot. However, he wasn't the only one scoring; North Putnam's Mitchell Crum was also able to sink a three pointer late in the half to cut the lead to three once again. But the last shot of the half belonged to Cloverdale and they led 27-22 at the half.
The third quarter was where North Putnam seemed to come alive.
The Clovers had the first possession, but had trouble with passing mistakes and weren't able to materialize any points off of the first two trips down the court. But they weren't the only ones that were having trouble. The Cougars did the same thing for the first few minutes of the game. North Putnam was the first to score in the second half when Ban scored two points. The Clovers were still having trouble with their passes and that allowed the Cougars to outscore them in the third. Dean hit a wide open three from the corner to tie the game at 27-all. Cloverdale then called a timeout to settle the frustrated team. Then the Cougars would take their first lead of the night with Dean hitting his second three pointer within a minute. Before the quarter was over, he would hit another to tie the game at 35-all. Cloverdale once again didn't let North Putnam take the last shot. This time, the last second shot belonged to Jacob Clark when he hit a jump shot for two.
The fourth and final quarter was when Cloverdale was able to seal in the win. Jordan Hayden hit a three-pointer which was the first score of the quarter for either team. The Clovers didn't stop there, they went on to score seven points while the Cougars were still scoreless. This didn't last for long because Scott Hunt hit a free-throw and then his teammate, Crum hit another trey to bring the Cougars within three.
The Clovers weren't about to let their hard earned lead be taken away that easily. They started playing very aggressively and seemed to go after every loose ball and were able to turn Cougar mistakes into points. The Clovers led by eleven with 2:08 remaining in the game.
The Cougar team looked very frustrated when a timeout was called with 2:05 to go. North Putnam rallied once again and Crum scored another two points to bring them with five with only one minute to go. But this wouldn't be enough to overtake the Clovers. Cloverdale was able to hang on to their lead and win homecoming 61-54.
North Putnam head coach Brady Armstrong summed it for his team when he said "we were up three and Kukman got some open looks. You have to give him credit for helping to stretch their lead out. They hurt us on the offensive boards and had a lot of second chances. We had to play from behind."
Cloverdale head coach Pat Rady was very proud of his team's win.
"I think was great team effort. It was great team win. North Putnam is a great ball club. I know their record but with Dahlstrom back, they are playing very good brand of basketball right now.
"It was a good tough competition tonight. We battled on the boards like we've been preparing all week to do. The team did really well tonight. We really wanted this win and I am happy for the team that we were able to come away with it," Rady added.
North Putnam -- 7 22 35 54
Cloverdale -- 15 27 35 61
North Putnam -- Crum 17, Dean 12, Alcorn 9, Dahlstrom 7, Ban 4, Jones 2, Wiltermood 2, Hunt 1.
Cloverdale -- Moon 19, Kukman 12, Dean 8, Hayden 8, Clark 4, Lovins 4, Moore 2, Strunk 2, Salter 2