Cloverdale closes regular season with loss to Shakamak, 44-33
CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale girls' basketball team tried to finish the season with a win on Tuesday night against Shakamak.
Sole senior Katie Fulkerson was honored on the Clovers' home court, but the squad couldn't find the offense needed in a 44-33 loss to the visiting Lakers.
Cloverdale had trouble stopping Laker guard Kelsey Fulford in the first period. The junior scored all nine of her points in the frame in helping the visitors to a 12-7 lead by the end of the quarter.
The Clovers would score the same amount again in the second period, but only trailed 21-14 at halftime thanks in part to Shakamak's struggles from the free throw line.
The Lakers hit only three of eight free throws in the period, which allowed Cloverdale to hang around in the game.
Coming out of the break, the lead remained around seven as whenever the Clovers got a basket, Shakamak answered.
Cloverdale got as close as six after a Bristy Skiles three-point basket, but immediately gave up a three-point play on the other end that stopped any momentum cold.
Shakamak center Kelsey Pilant, who sat for a large chunk of the first half in foul trouble, proved to be an obstacle to difficult to overcome late in the game.
The junior blocked three shots in both the third and fourth periods and kept Cloverdale out of the low-post area, while also securing four trips to the foul line, scoring all of her game-high 10 points in the second half.
Even when Cloverdale got the lead to as close as seven in the fourth quarter, the home side didn't have the firepower to cut the gap further and moves on into sectional play having lost their last two contests.
Cloverdale head coach Matthew Langdon said that at times, the team wasn't together on the same page.
"I just don't think we played very smart tonight. The heart was there. We were disappointed that we couldn't get a win for our senior Katie Fulkerson," Langdon said.
"We're really proud of her for sticking through it for four years. It's disappointing that we couldn't play a better last game for her," Langdon added.
"I thought we were slow with our defensive slides. They got by us a lot tonight. We've relied on our defense a lot this year and we didn't play well enough on defense to feed our offense."
With the season complete, Cloverdale will get a week off before matching up with South Putnam for a third time. Langdon said that the squad knows what lies in front of them.
"South's a very good team. They're much improved from last year. They've got a lot of girls back. They put a pretty good thumping on us both times," Langdon said.
"We know what it takes to be competitive with them and in sectional time, anything can happen," he added.
Shakamak 12 9 14 9 -- 44
Cloverdale 7 7 12 7 -- 33
Shakamak -- Pilant 10, Fulford 9, Gambill 7, Hudson 7, Martin 5, Gilbert 4, Phipps 2
Cloverdale -- Gruener 9, Fulkerson 8, Skiles 6, Shrum 4, Sanders 4, Nally 2
Next game -- Cloverdale faces South Putnam in IHSAA 2A Sectional No. 44 play next Tuesday at Cascade High School, starting at 6 p.m.