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Friday, May 6, 2016

Eagles' height disrupts Clovers defensive pressure in 39-33 win

Saturday, January 26, 2013

South Putnam senior guard Mattie Varvel looks for an opening in the Cloverdale defense as senior Sydney Shrum swarms onto the scene. Varvel had a team-high 10 points in the win.
(Banner Graphic/GRANT WIEMAN) [Order this photo]
The South Putnam and Cloverdale girls' basketball teams met Friday, each searching for a different goal. The Clovers for a respectable second conference win, the Eagles for their first West Central Conference victory.

The veteran Eagles squad succeeded, using a third-quarter barrage to topple the visiting Clovers 39-33.

Cloverdale began the game packing the paint and keeping its senior guards, Amillia Nally and Paige Gruener, closer to the basket and away from passing lanes, part of a plan to slow down South Putnam senior Leanna Masters.

"Defensively, obviously, she's the one to focus on down low," Cloverdale head coach Matthew Langdon said. "They've got some good shooters and their guards play well. I know (Mattie) Varvel had a good game tonight, but Masters still had a huge impact going after the ball."

Defensively, it worked in the first quarter. The Eagles managed only two points; a pair of free throws by senior Mattie Varvel, and the Clovers had an 8-2 lead.

"I thought our defense played good enough all night long," Langdon said. "To hold them to 40 points, that's right at our average."

Although they were slowing the Eagles down, the Clovers were struggling to find offense.

"We just didn't quite, at times, want the ball on offense," Langdon said. "That led to more opportunities for (SPHS)."

The CHS offense feeds off steals and ball pressure so as they packed the paint, they negated takeaways.

The strategy fell off in the second quarter as the Eagles hit a pair of threes, one each by senior Mallory Cash and junior Aubrey Nichols.

The Eagles made five-of-eight shots in the second quarter to tie the game at the half.

Opening the second, Blackman inserted senior Nikki York and junior Brooke Cundiff in the lineup the Eagles benefited from the new energy and lineup.

"That was a big quarter for us," Blackman said. "A lot of it had to do with who finished that second quarter strongly. I thought Brooke Cundiff did a great job from the point guard spot so we stuck with her.

"We went bigger in the second half (with York) to make sure we were getting rebounds."

SPHS opened the second half on a 14-2 run, seizing control of the game. The Eagles had a 13-4 rebound advantage in the third quarter.

Masters controlled the action, scoring eight points, hauling in eight of her game-high 11 rebounds and dishing a pair of assists.

"When we can have Nikki (York) or Amanda (Barnes) in the post, then we can bring Leanna out a little bit," Blackman said. "Let her get the ball in the short corner and let her do her work from the outside in."

The Clovers fought back, finishing the game on a 9-0 run of their own, but by then it was too late.

"On the halfcourt end, we had to sink in a little bit on Masters, so that took away from some steals," Langdon said. "At the end of the game, we were just more aggressive. You could tell we wanted the ball, it was just a little bit too late at that point."

Cloverdale has one game left before sectionals, a match-up Tuesday at Shakamak beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Eagles are at Clay City Tuesday, then wrap up their regular season Friday against North Putnam, both at 7:30 p.m.

Cloverdale seniors Sydney Shrum and Karen Walters (42) connect on a cross-lane pass for an easy layup by Walters.
(Banner Graphic/GRANT WIEMAN) [Order this photo]

At South Putnam
Cloverdale 8 8 2 15 -- 33
South Putnam 2 14 12 11 -- 39

Individual scoring
Cloverdale (7-12,1-4 WCC): Gruener 5-14 0-0 11, Skiles 2-9 0-0 6, Shrum 2-4 1-2 5, Nally 2-8 0-0 4, Clark 2-6 0-0 4, Walters 1-2 0-0 2, Stevens 0-1 1-4 1.
South Putnam (6-12, 1-3 WCC): Varvel 3-11 4-4 10, Masters 4-8 0-0 8, Barnes 3-3 1-2 7, Nichols 2-5 0-2 5, Cundiff 2-3 0-1 4, Cash 1-4 0-0 3, York 1-1 0-0 2, Birt 0-2 0-0 0, Whitaker 0-3 0-0 0, Hewitt 0-1 0-0 0.

Team scoring (three-pointers)
CL 14-45 (3-16) 2-6 33, SP 16-44 (2-5) 5-11 39.

Rebounds (offensive)
CL 24 (8), SP 36 (15).

CL 16, SP 20.

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