An undermanned Clovers squad showed more energy in its second contest of the tournament. Paige Gruener knocked down two three pointers in the opening quarter to keep Cloverdale within a point of the hosts, who led 9-8 after the first quarter.
Though neither side was hitting many baskets, the Eagles were getting to the free throw line far more frequently, knocking down 10 of 17 in the first half allowing South Putnam to enter halftime with a 18-13 lead.
For the second straight game, though, South Putnam surrendered several early baskets in the third quarter to let Cloverdale back into the contest. Cloverdale outscored the Eagles 7-2 in the opening two minutes to tie the score at 20-20 apiece.
The game then went back and forth throughout the second half, with the hosts leading by two going into the fourth quarter. While both teams canceled one another out on the floor, late free throw shooting allowed the Eagles to stretch out to a four-point lead late in the game.
A deep Bristy Skiles three pointer cut the lead to one, but two late Mallory Cash free throws and a missed last shot allowed the Eagles to take the consolation game and snare their first win of the season.
Both coaches commended their squad's effort afterwards.
"I'm just extremely proud of our girls. Obviously, we struggled last year and struggled this year and then tonight we had some adversity happen since Thursday. The girls dug down and didn't quit. We lost a player and had another varsity starter that had a family issue that she had to leave town for, so we were extremely shorthanded," Cloverdale head coach Tom Anderson said.
"I thought our girls really took it as a challenge to step up. I hope we can jumpstart off of this and realize that if they work hard and play together, they can do some things. A fine, fine effort and I'm proud of that."
"I was really pleased with our kids' effort. We had talked about that we needed to be more offensive minded in game tonight. We came out and took more shots in each quarter than we had tonight and we accomplished that goal of being more offensive minded tonight," South Putnam head coach Debby Steffy said.
"Our defense did a good job too. We gave up a few easy lay-ups here and there. For the most part I thought we did a pretty good job."
Cloverdale will get a lengthy break between now and their next contest, where as South Putnam will be right back on the court Tuesday.
"We have a girl that hasn't played at all this year through injury. Hopefully she'll be released. She's starting to work out some but hasn't had a full release. We don't play for a full two weeks, until Dec. 6 against Eminence. This is going to give us a chance to hopefully get healthy and also give us a chance to work on some things," Anderson said.
"It was nice for us to get the win. I talked about that in the locker room after the game that it was nice to get the monkey off the back and now we're 1-2. We play next Tuesday against West Vigo. A quick ball club, so it'll be a little bit like Cloverdale, a little size, have some quickness, so that'll be nice for us," Steffy added.
At South Putnam
Cloverdale 8 5 13 11 -- 37
South Putnam 9 9 10 12 -- 40
Next game -- South Putnam hosts West Vigo Tuesday. Cloverdale travels to Eminence Dec.6.