CLOVERDALE -- Cloverdale's girls' basketball team opened the home portion of the 2011 basketball season Monday night against an Owen Valley team that one year ago notched the Clovers by 46 points.
In a game that showed that both teams were still working out the kinks, the Patriots took another handy win over the hosts 50-32.
The opening few minutes saw the Clovers attack Owen Valley, with Amillia Nally knocking down a lay-up and three pointer to give the hosts an early 5-1 lead.
At the same time, Clover fouls were mounting as the visitors' off ball movement got them solid looks and trips to the free throw line.
Tied at five apiece, a three pointer from Owen Valley's Alicia Wilson would give the Patriots the lead for the rest of the game.
Cloverdale would soon suffer from lapses on both sides of the ball as the visitors began to get open looks on nearly every possession while the Clovers had problems handling the ball.
Trailing by five at the end of the first quarter, Cloverdale kept the scores close until a 16-7 run by Owen Valley in the final 4:30 of the half blew the score open heading into halftime.
While the Patriots had a sizable 34-18 lead going into the second half, both squads found points hard to come by in the second half.
Turnovers plagued both squads heavily in quarters three and four, with neither offense able to establish much rhythm.
The visitors outscored the hosts by a slender 16-14 margin, but by then the damage had already been done in the first half as the Patriots left with an 18 point win.
Cloverdale head coach Matt Langdon said afterwards that cutting down the turnovers would be key for the Clovers in the future.
"It's improvement. I think we lost to them last year by 46, which to tonight is about a 30 point difference. It was good that we were able to stay up with a team like Owen Valley, but it was disappointing that we weren't able to cut down the turnovers," Langdon said.
"We talked about getting the turnovers at least under 20, but we had 37 turnovers tonight. It's good that we know the one problem and if we were able to cut those down tonight, then we know that we could have been right in the middle of this game."
Defensively, the Clovers forced over 20 turnovers themselves, which for Langdon shows that the defense is proving to be a strong suit.
"I was proud of the way our girls played on the defensive end. To only give up 50 points and give them 37 extra possessions, we fought. We're trying to build an identity of being a scrappy, defensive, man-to-man team," Langdon said,
"They knew that we were there on defense. We were in their face. I was proud of the effort on the defensive end. If you're able to play good defense, then you're going to be able to hang with any team."
The Clovers will get three days to prepare for the next contest, the second game of the Putnam County Tournament against hosts South Putnam. Langdon looked at is a good test for his squad.
"South Putnam is a familiar team. We play them two or three times a year and the girls realize that if we're able to play hard defense, slow the game down and cut down on turnovers, we can be right in that game," Langdon said.
"And if we are, we might find ourselves in the final game, whomever it is against."
Owen Valley 14 20 7 9 -- 50
Cloverdale 9 9 6 8 -- 32
Owen Valley -- Wilson 16, Williams 11, Eldridge 7, Jones 6, Hamm 5, Corder 4, Richardson 1
Cloverdale -- Gruener 10, Stevens 7, Skiles 6, Shrum 3, Manning 3, Nally 2, Clark 1
Next game -- Cloverdale plays South Putnam in the second game of the Putnam County Tournament, hosted by South Putnam, tipping off at approximately 8:15.