SPEEDWAY--The Cloverdale Clovers girls' basketball team traveled to Speedway to play the Tri-West Lady Bruins in the second semi-final game of the Class 2A, Sectional 46 Friday night.
On paper, the overwhelming pre-game favorite would have to be Tri-West, with a 14-7 record, compared to Cloverdale, with a record of 4-17. Also, Cloverdale had lost to Tri-West by 14 points in the first game of the season, 60-46.
However, the Clovers have improved dramatically, both in skills and in heart, since the beginning of the season.
Undaunted, Cloverdale played an inspired, fervent game against Tri-West Friday.
Unfortunately, the Lady Bruins prevailed, 54-48, ending the Clovers' hopes of advancing to the sectional championship game against Covenant Christian tonight.
Cloverdale opened the game with baskets in the first quarter by Elizabeth Cheatham, Allie Franklin, and Kayla Shepherd on assists by Samantha Rightmyer and Cheatham.
However, Tri-West led at the end of the first period, 11-7.
Kristin McCammon joined her teammates in the scorebook in the second quarter, and Shepherd, Breegan Andersen, and McCammon were doing a good job of getting the ball inside to allow Cheatham to score four baskets. However, the Lady Bruins extended their lead to six points at halftime, 22-16.
Franklin nailed a three-point shot, and Cheatham hit an inside basket at the start of the second half, closing Tri-West's lead to one point, at 22-21, with 6:37 left in the third period, but the Lady Bruins went on an eight-point scoring run in the next three minutes.
Tri-West sustained that lead until the end of the period, leading 34-25 going into the fourth quarter.
The Clovers really turned up the heat defensively in the fourth quarter, while their offense exploded for 23 points in the final period.
Franklin, Shepherd, Cheatham, McCammon and Martika Byrd scored in the final stanza from assists by McCammon, Franklin, and Andersen, while the Cloverdale defense forced four Tri-West turnovers.
Cloverdale narrowed the gap to six points three seperate times in the final 2:44 of the game, but Tri-West hit 11-of-12 free throws during the stretch to end the Clovers' season.
Statistically, Cloverdale had the advantage over Tri-West in shooting from the floor, 46 percent versus 35 percent, and in assists 16-8. Tri-West however, hit 21-of-27 free throws versus the Clovers' 6-of-12, and that was the difference in the game.
"Our girls showed a lot of heart tonight," commented Cloverdale coach J.J. Wade after the game. "We had talked a lot about fighting through adversity, and this game was a snapshot of our season.
"We had a pretty good start at the beginning of our season and then we had some adversity. We buckled down and fought through it and closed the season well.
"We started pretty well at the start of the game, only being down by four points at the end of the first period," Wade continued. "Then Tri-West started to hit some tough shots.
"We had some struggles in the second and third quarters, but we finished strong again. We fought back in the fourth quarter, but Tri-West just hit their free throws at the end of the game.
"We lose four seniors, Alyssa, Kayla, Kristin, and Elizabeth, and they will be greatly missed," added Wade.
Cloverdale was led in scoring by two players scoring double figures; Cheatham with 22 and Franklin with 11.
Shepherd followed with seven, McCammon added six, and Byrd closed out the Clover scoring with two points.
Samantha Rightmyer led the Clovers in rebounds with seven boards, followed by Cheatham with five, McCammon with four and Shepherd grabbed three. Franklin hauled in two, and Breegan Anderson had one rebound.
McCammon had a game-high six assists, followed by Rightmyer who passed for three, Franklin, Andersen, and Cheatham dished-out two each, and Shepherd had one assist. Cheatham added a blocked shot.
Finally, Franklin, Shepherd, McCammon, Rightmyer, and Cheatham each had a steal of a Tri-West pass.
The Clovers' season ends with a record of 4-18 and 1-5 in the West Central Conference. This was the final basketball game in a Clover uniform for seniors Alyssa Franklin, Kayla Shepherd, Kristin McCammon, and Elizabeth Cheatham.
Cloverdale 7 9 9 23 -- 48
Tri-West 11 11 12 20 -- 54
Cloverdale (4-18, 1-5 WCC)
Franklin 4-7 2-3 11, Shepherd 2-3 1-2 7, McCammon 2-13 1-4 6, Rightmyer 0-2 0-0 0, Byrd 1-1 0-0 2, Anderson 0-2 0-0 0, Cheatham 10-13 2-3 22. Totals 19-41 FG, 6-12 FT, 48 TP.
Tri-West (15-7, 3-4 SAC)
Jobe 0-0 0-0 0, Jansen 4-10 4-6 12, Ricks 4-13 11-12 20, K. Bennett 2-2 1-1 5, M. Bennett 1-8 2-2 5, Walker 2-5 3-4 7, Anderson 2-5 0-2 5, Harris 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-43 FG, 21-27 FT, 54 TP.
3-pt. FG -- C 4-11 (Franklin 1-1, Shepherd 2-2, McCammon 1-8), TW 3-17 (Ricks 1-6, M. Bennett 1-5, Walker 0-3, Anderson 1-3). Rebounds - C 22 (Franklin 2, Shepherd 3, McCammon 4, Rightmyer 7, Anderson 1, Cheatham 5), TW 23 (Jansen 8, Ricks 7, K. Bennett 2, Walker 3, Anderson 2, Harris 1). Blocks -- C 1 (Cheatham 1), TW 4 (Jansen 2, Ricks 1, Walker 1). Assists -- C 16 (Franklin 2, Shepherd 1, McCammon 6, Rightmyer 3, Anderson 2, Cheatham 2), TW 8 (Ricks 4, M. Bennett 3, Harris 1). Steals -- C 5 (Franklin 1, Shepherd 1, McCammon 1, Rightmyer 1, Cheatham 1), TW 9 (Jobe 2, Jansen 1, Ricks 1, K. Bennett 1, Walker 2, Anderson 1, Harris 1). Total fouls -- C 20, TW 18. Fouled out -- Shepherd, Rightmyer. Turnovers - C 19, TW 16.
Next game -- The Clovers' season ends with a record of 4-18 and 1-5 in the West Central Conference. This was the final basketball game in a Clover uniform for seniors Alyssa Franklin, Kayla Shepherd, Kristin McCammon, and Elizabeth Cheatham.