Sectional-Opening Loss To Speedway Sparkplugs Ends Remarkable Season For Cloverdale Clovers
“I’m very proud of our team and how they played,” coach Rady said. “You can’t not feel for our kids... They didn’t quit.”
It was clearly emotional for the Cloverdale squad after taking a loss to the Speedway Sparkplugs, ending a stellar basketball season with an 18-2 record.
Cloverdale experienced some things during their game that they hadn’t seen this season. In past games, they have been able to make frequent trips to the free throw line. That was not the case Wednesday as they did not get some of the calls they are accustomed to.
The tempo of the game was a little slower than the Clovers are used to. They fell behind by as many as seven points in the first quarter. But they were able to fight their way back, trailing by only three at the end of the first quarter, 12-9.
An even second quarter kept it a three-point game, with Speedway holding a 28-25 lead at the half.
The Clovers were as close as two points in the third quarter, but Speedway went on a run and took a 47-32 lead going into the final eight minutes of play.
The first five points of the fourth quarter went on Cloverdale’s side of the scoreboard, and they were able to get to within six points with 2:52 to play. But Cloverdale fouls sent Speedway to the free throw line and the Sparkplugs were able to contain their lead and take a 59-50 win.
“I guess they won on the scoreboard,” coach Rady said of their opponents. “I guess they were the best team tonight.”
Cooper Neese led on the scoreboard for the Clovers with 22 points. Kedrick Collett had nine points, Marquise Moore and Brantson Scott each had seven, and Kade Schroer had five.
On the boards, Moore had six rebounds, while Collett and Scott each had five, Schroer had two, and Neese had one.
Coach Rady and the Cloverdale squad are very appreciative of the support they have received throughout the season, with Wednesday’s sectional being no exception. The Clover fans were in full force, showing their support for the squad. “We appreciate the community of Cloverdale and the student body,” coach Rady said.
The end of the season is always tough for the seniors, but Cloverdale’s two seniors have a lot to be proud of. Collett and Schroer have contributed a lot to the basketball program at Cloverdale. “We thank them and what they’ve done,” coach Rady said.
If it were up to coach Rady, they would have returned to the gym Thursday after school for practice. But although practices are over for this season, they can still learn from this experience.
Next year’s returning players have a lot to look forward to. “They’ve got a lot of potential to be very good,” coach Rady said of next season.
The coach stressed that their loss to Speedway should not diminish what they have accomplished this season. “We can’t let this game destroy the season these guys have had... we can’t let this loss tonight ruin our season,” he said.
When the season started, the Clovers set five goals. They wanted to have a winning season – check. They wanted to win their Holiday tournament – check. They wanted to win the Putnam County Tournament – check. They wanted to win the West Central Conference title – check. And they wanted to be a contender in the sectional – check. They might not have won the sectional, but there is no denying that the Clovers were definitely contenders.
As for their future, coach Rady says they need to move on. This game is over and now they must look toward the future.