CLOVERDALE -- Cloverdale came close to pulling off a major upset Thursday night, but fell in a thriller to visiting Southmont 57-56.
Cloverdale had led for nearly the entire game until the final 8.7 seconds when a Drake Cooksey basket gave the Mounties just their second lead of the second half -- the other came after the first basket of the second half.
The Clovers (3-15) still had a chance, but a shot following a timeout by Mitch Williams failed to go in and that ended the game.
"It was such a tough loss for the team," Cloverdale coach Pat Rady said. "The kids played so hard and it was right there. But, like we told them after the game, this one is over. We have to move on, but I am very proud of the way we played."
Rady was pleased with his team's effort and the 9-6 Mounties. In fact, the Clovers nearly beat the Mounties at their own game -- shooting from long range.
Cloverdale made 9-of-23 three-point shots, while the Mounties made just 5-of-20.
The outside shooting is something the team has been working on.
"About three weeks ago we decided we wanted to concentrate a little more on our perimeter game," Rady said. "Since then we have challenged the guys to make between 350 and 500 three-point shots in practice each week. That is not shooting 350 to 500, but making that many. It is paying off."
Leading the outside shooters was Brandon Dorman and Joe Fidler who combined to hit 7-of-16. In fact they were the only two Cloverdale players to score in the fourth quarter. Combined they hit 19 points in the final quarter, but it was not enough as the Mounties erupted for 26 points in the final eight minutes.
At one point in the fourth quarter, with approximately 5:30 to play, Cloverdale was up 46-35.
"I thought we were going to get it, but they (Southmont) have three players that can score and they can score in a hurry," Rady said. "They hit us with a run, but we still battled and had a chance."
Following Cooksey's basket, Cloverdale immediately called a timeout and then got the ball to halfcourt and called another timeout to set up the final play with 4.5 seconds.
After Cloverdale got the ball inbounds, it went to Mitch Williams who had a close shot, but it didn't fall. A battle ensued for the rebound as the buzzer sounded.
"We wanted the to get best shot we could and we got a great look," Rady said.
Cloverdale was led by Brandon Dorman's 19 points. He was followed by Fidler's 17 and Chuck Strunk's 12.
Southmont 11 11 6 26 -- 57
Cloverdale 16 7 14 19 -- 56
Southmont (9-6) -- Drake Cooskey 4-8 0-0 8, Devon Burton 6-13 0-2 13, Cody Thomas 3-12 2-2 10, Austin Burton 9-19 2-3 22, Zach Dinius 0-0 0-0 0, Jared Myers 1-3 0-0 2, Ezri Stewart 1-8 0-0 2. Totals 23-64 4-7 57
Cloverdale (3-15) -- Kendrick Collett 0-2 0-1 0, Chuck Strunk 5-8 0-0 12, Joe Fidler 7-14 -1 17, Brandon Dorman 7-13 0-1 19, Brody Phaff 0-1 0-0 , Zach Dorman 4-5 0-0 8, Mitch Williams 0-6 0-0 0. Totals: 23-49 1-3 56.
3-Point shooting -- Southmont 5-20 (Cooksey 0-1, D.Burton 1-3, Thomas 2-9, A.Burton 2-7), Cloverdale 9-23 ( Collett 0-2, Strunk 2-4, B.Dorman 5-8). Rebounds -- Southmont 34 (Stewart 10, A.Burton 7), Cloverdale 36 (Z.Dorman 10, Fidler 10). Fouls -- Southmont 14, Cloverdale 11. Turnovers -- Southmont 6, Cloverdale 16. Junior Varsity: Cloverdale 36, Southmont 35