GMS holds off Cloverdale for county title
GREENCASTLE -- The Putnam County girls' seventh grade basketball season came to its zenith on Thursday night when Cloverdale took on Greencastle for the Putnam County Championship at South Putnam High School.
Though the game seemed to go on for much longer than four six-minute periods would suggest, the Tiger Cubs built a small lead after three quarters of play and held on to beat the Clovers 27-21.
Good shooting opportunities came at a premium for both teams as a herky-jerky style developed due to frequently tweets from the whistle of the officials. Greencastle got the ball inside frequently but could not knock down the shots, taking a slender 5-4 for lead into the first quarter break.
They would extend that lead to 9-4 before Payton Dorsett knocked down a three pointer to cut the lead to 9-7. Cloverdale added a couple of free throws before the end of the half to tie the score at 9-9 at halftime.
While the game was still hampered by whistles, both teams began to open up more on offense. Greencastle was able to knock down a couple of the shots that they had been missing in the first half and built a small three point lead at 17-14 entering the final period.
Free throw shooting became the theme of the fourth quarter as both teams made multiple attempts at the foul line. Cloverdale had multiple chances to cut into the Greencastle lead, but could not take advantage of the trips to the charity stripe.
The Clovers did make things interesting when Dorsett knocked down a late three to bring the game back to two points, but Kenlee Johnson knocked down 3 of 5 free throws late to keep the Tiger Cubs comfortably ahead before the final horn sounded.
Both coaches, Ed Stevens of Cloverdale and Ali Anderson of Greencastle, were impressed by the performances not only Thursday night but throughout the season.
"Sometimes, you just have to survive and that's what the girls did. Usually the third quarter is a problem for us but they came out and played hard and I was really proud of them," Anderson said.
"Their personalities make it fun every single day. Practices were fun, bus rides were fun, games were fun. It was an all around good group," Anderson added.
"There was no quit in the girls. They really got into it, especially in the fourth quarter. I told them "go ahead and hit a three" and, while we don't usually shoot threes, [Dorsett] sunk it and we were only two down and the life came back into the girls," Stevens said.
"They never quit. They played hard all year. Last time we played Greencastle, the game was over in the third quarter. They did great."
"They're fun. There's great camaraderie in the group. You can tell them to go out and do something and they'll do it with no complaints. They gelled into a fun, no-quit group with a lot of hustle and determination," Stevens added.
Both coaches also added that the groups they had will be bigger contributors down the road for each school.
"They're trying to turn things around down in Cloverdale. We're trying to make Cloverdale a girls' basketball capital. That's what we're trying to do," Stevens said.
"I think the eighth graders here can go up and help the varsity squad, but I also think the seventh graders are going to come up and play well in eighth grade and then later help win a sectional for Coach (Brad) Key," Anderson added.
At South Putnam
Cloverdale 4 5 5 7 -- 21
Greencastle 5 4 8 10 -- 27
Cloverdale -- Winders 10, Dorsett 8, Patterson 2, Hamm 1
Greencastle -- Megan Haltom 9, Bragg 7, Chadd 3, Klinger 3, Johnson 3, Marley Haltom 2