(Banner Graphic/JARED JERNAGAN) [Order this photo]
"I can't say enough about the resilience (of this team) and how we stuck together as a team and we played as a team," Cloverdale coach Pat Rady said.
Cloverdale played Rady's trademark team-basketball. Kade Schroer led the Clovers with 23 points, hitting 7-16 from three-point range, followed by Brantson Scott with 17 point and six rebounds, Brody Pfaff with 13 points and Zach Dorman with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"And the other three (Brandon Dorman, Kedrick Collet, Brandon Hughes) scored 11 (together), so we had five in double figures," Rady pointed out.
Clay City was led by Blake Cesinger, with 21 points, 13 rebounds and several assists.
"I thought we did a good job of staying in front of them (on defense). But (Blake) Cesinger's tough. He's a great player. He's got a savvy about him," Rady said.
With 10 seconds to play Clay City took a 73-71 lead when Cesinger penetrated and dropped a pass inside to Josh Miller for uncontested layup.
As the clock ticked closer to Cloverdale's ninth straight loss, the ball arrived at the top of the key and Brandon Dorman had no choice but to shoot it.
"There was no play (called). We were running Ben Davis (offense), but he didn't get it," Rady said. "(Brandon Dorman) was in a position where the ball does come to him and he hit it. But you've got to be ready to go when there are broken plays. You hope that guys feel they can do it."
Dorman's unscripted game-winning basket gave Cloverdale an unlikely victory. Everything was stacked against the Clovers.
Cloverdale started the night playing on the road with an eight-game losing streak; playing a Clay City team on a four-game winning streak, including a win over Class 2A power Eastern Greene on Friday night, and to top it all, the Eels were celebrating homecoming.
And when Clay City built a 39-27 lead midway through the second quarter, there was every reason to believe Cloverdale was warming up the bus for a quiet ride home.
Instead of retreating, the Clovers dug in. CHS switched to a man-to-man defense that kept Cesinger from penetrating and dishing out open shots to his teammates. By doing that, the Clovers held the Eels scoreless over the final 4:08 of the second period.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the court, Cloverdale attacked the basket with a 12-0 run, starting with three Pfaff free throws.
Hughes came off the bench to net two points, Zach Dorman hit pair of free throws and Schroer hit a three to bring the Clovers with two, 39-37, at halftime.
Clay City's Trevor Singer and Evan Rogers combined for 27 points in the first half, but were scoreless in the second against the Clovers' man-to-man defense.
Schroer hit a trio of three-point baskets in the third quarter as the Clovers took a 57-54 lead into the fourth period.
The score was tied 66-66 with 3:48 left in the game. The Eels scored, and Cloverdale answered.
A Schroer three tied the game 69-69 and Zach Dorman tied it for the last time 71-71 with 30 seconds left.
"We had some grit tonight and that's what I was proud to see. We had some determination. We were playing not afraid to lose, we were playing to win and if we happen to come up short, we come up short. But we made great strides this weekend," Rady said.
In junior varsity action, Clay City earned a 48-29 win over Cloverdale. Brandon Hughes led the Clovers with 14 points.
At Clay City
Cloverdale 21 16 20 17 -- 74
Clay City 27 12 15 19 -- 73
Cloverdale (74) -- Schroer 7-16 7-16 23, Scott 6-9 5-6 17, Pfaff 4-6 5-11 13, Z. Dorman 3-5 4-5 10, B. Dorman 2-3 0-0 5, Collet 2-5 0-0 4, Hughes 1-1 0-0 2, Cummings 0-1 0-0 0, Cupp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-46 FG, 16-24 FT, 74 TP.
Clay City (73) -- B. Cesinger 8-19 5-9 21, Singer 6-14 0-0 17, Miller 4-5 7-12 15, Rogers 3-12 4-4 12, L. Cesinger 2-4 0-0 4, Booe 0-4 2-4 2, Yocom 0-0 2-2 2, Phillips 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 23-61 FG, 20-31 FT, 73 TP.
3Pt. Goals: Cd 8-17 (Schroer 7-16, B. Dorman 1-1), CC 7-23 (Singer 5-10, Rogers 2-11, B. Cesinger 0-1, Phillips 0-1). Total fouls: Cd 18, CC 17. Fouled out: Scott. Technical fouls: Clay City (B. Cesinger). Turnovers: Cd 19, CC 13. Rebounds: Cd 32 (Z. Dorman 11, Scott 6), CC 38 (B. Cesinger 13, Miller 8). Steals: Cd 3 (Pfaff, Collet, Schroer), CC 11 (Rogers 3, Singer). JV game: Clay City won 48-29.
Next game: Cloverdale (3-10, 0-3 in WCC) will host North Putnam on Friday.