Thunderbirds use second quarter burst to keep Clovers hemmed in

Saturday, January 28, 2023

CLOVERDALE – Cloverdale hosted Eastern Greene in boys’ basketball for its winter homecoming on Saturday night.

The Clovers allowed the visitors a big second quarter and dropped the contest 57-43. The Clovers kept the game close but could not get over the hump.

The Thunderbirds scored 20 points in the second period as they stretched a lead to double-digits and Cloverdale could not convert enough on the offensive end in the game to rally as the loss drops the Clovers to 1-16 on the season while Eastern Greene improves to 5-12.

“Give credit to Eastern Greene, they had to travel up here and they played really well,” Cloverdale head coach Karl Turk said.

The Clovers and Thunderbirds battled evenly throughout the first quarter. Eastern Greene took a 10-6 lead late in the quarter, but Noah Betz nailed a buzzer-beating three-pointer to set the score at 10-9 in the Thunderbirds’ favor.

Eastern’s offense got clicking in the second quarter, particularly late in the period. An old-fashioned three-point play by Betz tied the score at 12-12 but Nate Myers and Ty McKnight led the Thunderbird offense as they began to stretch the lead late in the period.

Eastern scored the last four points of the quarter and took the lead to double-digits at 30-20 at the intermission. The Thunderbirds hit 9-of-12 shots in the quarter to take advantage of the Clover defense.

“We got outplayed in the second quarter. They did a good job of pressuring our guards out of what we wanted to do, then offensively they rotated the ball and got good looks,” Turk said.

Cloverdale cut the lead to seven early in the third quarter but could not get much closer. A pair of Levi Johnson free throws trimmed the lead to 32-25, but a pair of three-pointers by the Thunderbird’s Korbin Ikerd and Ty McKnight boosted the lead back to double-digits at 38-25.

The Clovers did finish the quarter strong as Johnson and Betz scored the last three points in the period and set the margin at 40-33 heading into the fourth quarter.

“We did some good things tonight, but when we got close, (Eastern) made that third or fourth pass and hit some shots,” Turk said.

Cloverdale could get no closer than eight points during the final period. Not enough offense doomed the Clovers as the Thunderbirds were able to milk the clock to maintain and eventually extend the lead to the final 57-43 margin.

“We have got to get more intelligent basketball-wise. We settled for good or fair shots, when the extra pass would have given us a great look,” Turk said.

The Thunderbirds were led by Myers with 17 points, while McKnight and Ikerd added 11. Betz scored 16 points for the Clovers and Tayt Jackson added 10 points.

“We have over a week off. This could be a critical point in our season. You typically do not get that much practice time during the season. Our kids really want to win. I see it in practice, we have to learn how to win,” Turk said.

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EASTERN GREENE (57) – Inman 1-4 0-0- 2, Myers 7-13 2-4 17, McKnight 3-4 3-4 11, Rees 1-3 0-1 2, Lewis 4-11 0-1 8, Ikerd 4-7 2-4 11, Campbell 0-3 0-0 0, Valentine 2-2 0-0 6. Totals 22-47 FG, 7-14 FT, 57 TP.

CLOVERDALE (43) – Jackson 4-10 1-2 10, Hilton 2-8 0-2 5, Monnett 0-2 0-0 0, Lee 1-4 0-0 2, Betz 5-9 3-5 16, Johnson 2-4 3-4 7, McGuire 1-3 0-0 3. Totals 15-40 FG, 7-13 FT, 43 TP.

3-point shooting – EG 6-15 (Inman 0-3, Myers 1-4, McKnight 2-3, IIkerd 1-1, Campbell 0-2, Valentine 2-2), CHS 6-17 (Jackson 1-3, Hilton 1-4, Lee 0-1, Monnett 0-1, Betz 3-5, McGuire 1-3). Rebounds – EG 31 (Inman 2, Myers 5, McKnight 1, Rees 2, Lewis 6, Ikerd 7, Campbell 4, Valentine 2) CHS – 24 (Jackson 6, Hilton 1, Monnett 1, Lee 5, Betz 5, Johnson 5) FG Pct. – EG 46.8, CHS 37.5. FT Pct. – EG 50.0, CHS 53.8. Turnovers – EG 6, CHS 11.

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