The game began with South Putnam's Jessica Thompson burying a three-pointer and pressing the Clovers, then capitalizing on the turnovers. South jumped out to a 14-4 first quarter lead then seized a halftime margin of 30-15.
The Eagles were led by Dabkowski's nine points, with Brooke Boetjer adding eight and Jessica and Jenny Thompson adding five each. Head coach Debbie Steffy liked what she saw from her squad on the night.
"I thought we played well overall," she said. "We did things we wanted to do. We were able to try some things and see how that would work for us. With this being a sectional opponent, and sectional coming up, we wanted to have a good showing. I thought the kids played hard. We were upset when they hit some threes and that was good to see on their face Ah, we gave up one' and that's a little bit of competitiveness coming out in them and that was nice to see this time of season."
Paige Gutierrez was Cloverdale's top scorer in the half with seven, but her best was yet to come.
In the third quarter, Gutierrez and the Clovers came out aggressive and outscored the Eagles 14-13 in the quarter and showed they have more than a little fight left in them. Gutierrez connected on three three-point buckets in the quarter, while teammate Bristy Skiles added a three and two of her own.
Unfortunately for the Clovers, they were only able to put up three points in the final period, but head coach Tom Anderson acknowledged the supreme effort his team gave Friday and how pleased he was seeing the transition from the practice court to game conditions.
"That's some of our best basketball of the year," he said. "We talked about before the game, at this point we're not really, do we want to win -- absolutely that's why you play the game, but we're not as concerned about that as seeing improvement and effort and seeing things we work on in practice in the game. Tonight was the best example of that.
"Our passing, our ball movement, we didn't have as many turnovers, what we had was key in that we had one there at the end of the half that they scored on and a couple at the end of the game where the margin of victory was bigger than what it was or would have been," Anderson added.
Steffy also pointed out following the game that this was a different team that the one her Eagles faced in their first meeting.
"They've improved since the first time we played them; they really have. Their ball handling is better, they shooting is better, they moved the ball better as far as their passing and all. Coach Anderson has had them in here working them hard and you can tell that it's paying off for them and it's paying off at the right time of year," she said.
South Putnam never exploded for an offensive blast at any time in the game, but were able to play a consistent and even game. Dabkowski and Ericka Minor led the Eagles in the second half with six points each.
Friday night was a big night on much level. First it was Cloverdale's homecoming, second it's a conference game, third and perhaps biggest of all, it was an intra-county match-up. Every game has a level of excitement, but when you thrust two county opponents together, the intensity can go through the roof.
"This is a big game," Steffy pointed out. "There's three biggies there. The county, conference and the sectional and we just want to have a good showing as far as versus sectional teams at this time of the year. As far as county and conference -- we needed a conference win and we got a good conference win and a lot of people contributed to it, so we were pleased with that. And you always want to beat county rivals, you always want to beat county teams, so it was nice to be able to come out of here with a victory on their homecoming."
Anderson spoke about the strides his team has made. They had crisp passes, were seeing the court well and were able to knock down some shots when they had the chance. He also voiced how pleased he was with the team's improvement and resilience in Friday's contest.
"This is the time of year where they could have cashed it in," Anderson commented. "I'm just really happy with the effort we got tonight and the improvement we saw and the things we've really been working on and stressing and I just hope we continue to do that. I just thought we did, compared to the rest of the season, I thought we did a nice job. I was very proud of the girls and the effort they gave."
South Putnam will host Clay City Tuesday at 6 p.m., while the Clovers will host Shakamak Tuesday at 6 p.m.
South Putnam 14 16 13 11 -- 54
Cloverdale 4 11 14 3 -- 32
South Putnam -- Dabkowski 15, Boetjer 11, Jen. Thompson 8, Jes. Thompson 7, Searles 7, Minor 6. Totals: 22-50 FG, 5-8 FT, 54 TP.
Cloverdale -- Gutierrez 16, Skiles 11, Woodworth 2, Gruener 2, Andersen 1. Totals: 12-38 FG, 1-3 FT, 32 TP.
Next game -- South Putnam will host Clay City Tuesday at 6 p.m., while the Clovers will host Shakamak Tuesday at 6 p.m.