BLOOMFIELD -- Cloverdale's boys' basketball team had a tall ask in front of it as the Clovers traveled to Class 2A No. 8 Eastern Greene Tuesday night.
After battling the Thunderbirds throughout the first half and trailing by five at halftime, Cloverdale ran into trouble in the third quarter and could not recover, falling 63-50.
It was not all fun and games for the hosts, as the Clovers were up to the challenge in the early going.
Defense was the theme as Cloverdale matched the speed and quick movements of the Thunderbird offense, trailing 11-8 after one quarter of play.
With both teams moving the ball effectively, scoring picked up in the second quarter. Cloverdale matched Eastern Greene shot for shot and trailed 27-22 entering halftime.
The energy expended hanging with a top-ten team began to show in the third quarter, where the Thunderbirds pulled away.
A half-court trap defense made life difficult for the Clovers as Eastern Greene went on a 9-0 run midway through the quarter, primarily on steals and lay-ups that quickly saw the lead balloon to 44-30 by the end of the period.
Cloverdale pressed on and outscored the Thunderbirds 20-19 in the final quarter of play, but the surge in the third quarter produced a lead that Eastern Greene kept safe for the victory.
Cloverdale head coach Pat Rady said afterwards that the effort of his squad in the first half was possibly its best half of basketball of the season.
"This was probably the best half we've played. We're very pleased with the effort. There's no question that Eastern Greene is a fine ball club," Rady said. "[Coach Levi Carmichael] is a class guy and one of the best young coaches around. They're very impressive.
"[Tyler Brough] is a heck of a shooter. We had to be conscious of where he was at and when we didn't find him, we paid the price."
Brough finished with a game-high 27 points.
As the game moved on, Cloverdale was held in check by Eastern Greene's defense and the turnovers created by the Thunderbirds were a reoccurring issue.
"We've got to get the guys some rest and that's tough to do right now. We had thirteen turnovers in the second half and that's been our Waterloo," Rady said. "We've got to keep working on our ball handling, but give credit to Eastern Greene.
"They forced a lot of those turnovers because they were in position and they played good team defense."
Cloverdale will not be in action until after Christmas.
The Clovers play Mitchell at the Eminence Classic December 29, a tournament the also features the hosts and Seymour.
All four squads will come into the day's event under .500 and Rady said that each team will look to use a tournament win to get them up and running into the second half of the season.
"This tournament could be a springboard for any of the four teams because all of the squads have had some tough times," Rady said. "We've got some practice time over the holidays and we'll come in and work hard.
"We look forward to the second half of the season, look at it like a new season and a chance to start anew."
At Eastern Greene
Cloverdale 8 14 8 20 -- 50
Eastern Greene 11 16 17 19 -- 63
Cloverdale -- Collet 12, Pfaff 8, Cupp 8, Schroer 6, Dorman 6, Cummings 6.
Eastern Greene -- Brough 27, Stille 14, Henderson 11, Martindale 5, Richardson 4, Frye 2.