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Clovers rebound to top Cougars in consolation game

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cloverdale senior Amillia Nally skies over the defense to bank in a layup in Saturday's consolation victory over North Putnam. The Clovers won 45-26 in the 2012 Putnam County Girls' Basketball Tournament.
(Banner Graphic/GRANT WIEMAN) [Order this photo]
Switching from an 8 p.m. start to 6:30 p.m. was like night and day for Cloverdale as the girls' basketball team bounced back from a loss on Friday to top North Putnam in the Putnam County Tournament on Saturday, 45-26.

Senior Paige Gruener had a game-high 18 points on only 12 shots to lead the Clovers.

Cloverdale scored only 25 points in its loss to Greencastle on Friday, but head coach Matthew Langdon said his team gained confidence in their defense, which showed in the consolation game.

"It's amazing how when you're aggressive, the shots just seem to fall," Langdon said. "I don't think we became better shooters overnight. I just think, when you're playing aggressive and confident, the shots just fall."

Senior Sydney Shrum also had a big day for Cloverdale, pulling in 13 rebounds to go with 15 points on nine shots and three blocks.

The Clovers were held without a shot attempt for the first three minutes of the game, but they still held and 8-6 lead after the first quarter.

They expanded on it in the second. Senior point guard Amillia Nally had six points at the half as Cloverdale lead 18-11.

"(Nally) has been our leading scorer a lot of games," Langdon said. "She wasn't our leading scorer but she handled the ball really well and she contributed many assists. She played a huge game."

Cloverdale turned up the intensity even more in the third quarter, going on a 19-5 run and putting the game out of reach.

North Putnam tried to respond by increasing its defensive pressure full court, but Nally maintained her dribble and knifed passes behind the Cougar defense.

"Once Cloverdale got up double-digits, we had to do something to try to change the tempo," North Putnam coach Curtis Lawrence said. "When you do that, it's going to get you tired and your offense is going to suffer a little bit."

North Putnam was again led in scoring and rebounds by senior forward Sam Lucas, 3-of-9, but her nine points weren't enough.

"She had really good ball games this weekend," Lawrence said. "We just didn't have the help (around her) that we had last night against South Putnam.

"Give Cloverdale credit. They took the other shots away and made Sam do the work."

Cloverdale unleashed a renewed emphasis on pressure defense, and Langdon said he believes that can continue.

"With us and our scoring woes at times, I think we have to be an aggressive pressure team," Langdon said. "We didn't start out pressing at the beginning of the year. We came into the county (tournament) saying that we wanted to use this as a stepping stone to put in the press and be able to stick with it."

Cloverdale plays again tonight at Owen Valley.

For North Putnam, the team will look to play with more energy and work harder on offense going forward.

"We're just not screening enough," Lawrence said. "Our turnovers were down. We got (Cloverdale) to turn the ball over and we just didn't capitalize."

The Cougars return to action on Tuesday at South Vermillion.

At South Putnam

Putnam County Tournament
: 8 10 19 8 -- 45
North Putnam: 6 5 5 10 -- 26
Individual Scoring
-- Gruener 18, Shrum 15, Nally 9, Stevens 3. Totals 7-10 FT, 18-45 FG -- 45 TP.
North Putnam -- Lucas 9, Smith 8, Asbell 5, Wiatt 4. Totals 6-11 FT, 9-42 FG -- 26 TP.

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