Monrovia halts Clovers

Saturday, December 19, 2009

MONROVIA -- Riding a five game win streak into Friday night's action, the Cloverdale boys' basketball team was looking strong. The one question mark was how they might handle a bigger, more physical team. Monrovia fit that description perfectly.

The Bulldogs' (1-1, 1-1 WCC) 78-64 victory over the Clovers (5-2, 1-1 WCC) let coach Pat Rady and his squad know there is still work to be done. Monrovia forced 20 turnovers, 15 in the second and third periods, to climb back from a 24-16 first half deficit all the way back to the 16-point victory.

The teams traded the lead early in the first quarter, with Brandon Moon getting hot for the Clovers, while Dalin Gray matched him at the other end.

Several turnovers late in the quarter and transition buckets from Moon and fellow senior Jacob Clark put the Clovers up six heading into the second.

The game turned around in the second frame, though. With a regular lineup that tops out at 6-foot-2, the Clovers struggled with the Bulldogs' 6-5 Zane Shuee, who came off the bench to pour in 17 points, several of which came on putbacks.

After the contest, Rady acknowledged blocking out was a struggle for his team, adding they gave up a number of second-chance -- third-chance and fourth-chance -- points.

But height wasn't their main problem, the Clovers are, after all, 2-0 against a Greencastle team that fields three players at 6-8.

The real difference came when Monrovia slowed the Clover attack with its pressure defense. Whether in the full court press or the half court, the Bulldogs always seemed to be in the Clover passing and driving lanes, batting away passes and clogging the lane when Moon, Clark or Jason Salter tried to drive to the bucket.

The pressure seemed to only frustrate the Clovers, as they committed a number of unforced turnovers. It also made their shooting go cold. Moon began the game going 5-for-5 from beyond the arc. From the second quarter on, the entire team was 0-for-9 from outside.

By halftime, Monrovia's defense had earned it a 40-39 advantage. Tim Connor's three as time expired in the third made the lead 66-55.

In the fourth, Monrovia executed a slow-down game very well, outscoring the Clovers 12-9 on the way to the final score.

Ever the teacher, Rady was frustrated after the game, but said his team would learn and grow from this. He emphasized the fight they showed until the final buzzer, in spite of the score.

Moon led all scorers with 28 points, followed by 14 from Kevin Dean and 12 from Clark.

Gray led the Bulldogs with 20, followed by Shuee's 17 and Connor's 15.

Cloverdale is back in action tonight, hosting Tri-West. JV action tips off at 6 p.m.

At Monrovia

Cloverdale 24 15 16 9 -- 64
Monrovia18 22 26 12 -- 78

Cloverdale (5-2, 1-1 WCC) -- Moon 9-21 6-10 28, Dean 5-7 4-5 14, Clark 5-12 2-2 12, Salter 3-6 2-3 8, Williams 0-2 2-2, 2, Hayden 0-3, 0-0 0, Moore 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 22-54 FG, 16-22 FT, 78 points.

Monrovia (1-2, 1-2 WCC) -- Gray 5-8 6-7 20, Shuee 8-12 1-3 17, Connor 5-6 4-5 15,Watson 3-14 1-2 7, Johnson 2-4 0-0 4, Everett 2-2 0-0 4, Porter 1-3 1-2 4, McCleerey 1-2 2-3 4, Benefiel 1-2 1-2 3, McIntosh 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 28-55 FG, 16-24 FT, 78 points.

3-pt FG--CHS 4-14 (Moon 4-11, Clark 0-2, Hayden 0-1), Mon 6-16 (Gray 4-5, Connor 1-2, Porter 1-3, Watson 0-6). Turnovers--CHS 20, Mon 18. Fouls--CHS 17, Mon 21. Fouled out--Salter (CHS).

Next game: Cloverdale (5-2, 1-1 WCC) hosts Tri-West tonight, with JV action tipping off at 6 p.m.