2016-02-16 / Front Page

Clovers Claim 2016 Putnam County Tourney Title With Wins Over Tiger Cubs And Eagles

by Brent Ranard
for The Hoosier Topics


Seniors and team captains with the bucket, left to right: senior Robert Nally, senior Brenen Hall, junior captain Cooper Neese, and sophomore captain Jalen Moore. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Seniors and team captains with the bucket, left to right: senior Robert Nally, senior Brenen Hall, junior captain Cooper Neese, and sophomore captain Jalen Moore. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Cloverdale’s varsity boys’ basketball team captured the Putnam County Tournament championship over the weekend and brought the bucket home to Cloverdale. Friday night saw them down the host Tiger Cubs in an epic overtime battle 75-71. The championship game on Saturday night was a 71-42 thumping of the South Putnam Eagles.

“Great day to be a Clover!,” shouted an elated Clover head coach Patrick Rady after the game. “I was really proud of our team tonight. Our theme this year has been ‘All in For Cloverdale.’ Our student body and fans were defiantly all in for us this weekend. They fueled us both nights. Our players feed off our fans!”

The Friday night matchup saw the Clovers avenging a December 19th loss to Greencastle in an exciting finish that found the large crowd at The McAnally Center getting their money’s worth.


The Cloverdale Clovers are 2016 Putnam County champions! (Photo by Brent Ranard) The Cloverdale Clovers are 2016 Putnam County champions! (Photo by Brent Ranard) The game was close the entire way with the Clovers maintaining a modest lead most of the first three quarters. They led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter and 44-41 at the half. The end of the third still saw a threepoint lead for Cloverdale at 44-41 but the final quarter of regulation would see seven different lead changes with neither team leading by more than three points.

Greencastle’s outstanding senior Ryan Coble went to the line with 40 seconds left in the game and his team down one and missed the free throw to tie it but junior Nick Costin grabbed the offensive rebound and called a time-out giving the Tiger Cubs the ball with 35 seconds left and down one, 53-52.


The Cloverdale student section was rockin’ Friday night at The McAnally Center in Greencastle. Staff Photo) The Cloverdale student section was rockin’ Friday night at The McAnally Center in Greencastle. Staff Photo) Coble got fouled after Cloverdale’s Jalen Moore slipped going to the basket and made one free throw to tie the game with 7.8 seconds. Neese grabbed the rebound and flew down the court but was unable to convert as time ran out to send it to overtime, tied at 53.

Both teams scored three points quickly in overtime but then Cloverdale went on a 7-0 run to take a 63- 56 lead with five points by Moore and a lay-up by sophomore Nick Winders. Coble then hit two free throws to make the score 63-58.

After Moore went down and hit two free throws of his own, Coble rebounded a missed shot and passed off to Colin York who then hit a corner three-pointer to cut the Cloverdale lead to 65-61. That looked to be the end of it as the Clovers hit four free throws in a row to stretch the lead to 69-61 with 35 seconds remaining.


Cloverdale’s Cooper Neese shoots over the outstretched arm of Greencastle’s Nick Costin in the first half of Friday’s game. (Staff Photo by Travis Curry) Cloverdale’s Cooper Neese shoots over the outstretched arm of Greencastle’s Nick Costin in the first half of Friday’s game. (Staff Photo by Travis Curry) But Coble made a basket and got fouled sending him to the line, he missed the and-one but the Tiger Cubs got the offensive rebound and a jump ball gave them the possession. Off the inbound pass by York, freshman Alex Costin drilled a three-pointer to cut the lead to 69-66.

Cloverdale’s Moore would make two more sets of free throws to gain a 73-66 advantage before Coble rebounded his own miss and put it back in to make the score 73-68 with nine seconds left.

All Greencastle could do was foul and Moore went to the line, made both and sealed the Clovers’ spot in the championship game. Moore was an amazing 12- for-12 from the charity strip in the overtime period that saw Cloverdale put up 22 points.


Head coach Patrick Rady celebrates by cutting down the nets after the game on Saturday night. This is Rady’s first year at the helm of the Clovers. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Head coach Patrick Rady celebrates by cutting down the nets after the game on Saturday night. This is Rady’s first year at the helm of the Clovers. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Coble finished the game with 38 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists for the Tiger Cubs in the losing effort.

“He is an outstanding player,” Rady said. “He is so unselfish and that is the scary part because you really want to help but he will give it up. He is so good off the bounce.”

Neese finished with a team-high 27 points while Moore added 26. Moore ended 14-of-15 from the free throw line. Freshman Jake Wilkes had 12 points and Sophomore Nick Winders added eight points. Senior Brenen Hall had two points.

Rady was exhausted after the big win and very pleased with his team’s effort. “I was pleased with our desire to rebound. We out rebounded Greencastle by two and it had been a while since we had out rebounded our opponent,” he said. “We also knocked down free throws in the fourth quarter and overtime. We have spent a lot of time working on skill work and it was great to see it pay off. Jake Wilkes played really well for us and he just gets better and better every game out. It was nice to see Nick Winders knock down two big three’s in the second half. He has put extra time in shooting the past two weeks and it paid off in a big way tonight.”


Cloverdale’s Jake Wilkes goes up for a shot against defensive pressure from Greencastle’s JT Matthews (right) and Devin Clar (left) in the first half of Friday night’s tourney game. (Staff Photo by Travis Curry) Cloverdale’s Jake Wilkes goes up for a shot against defensive pressure from Greencastle’s JT Matthews (right) and Devin Clar (left) in the first half of Friday night’s tourney game. (Staff Photo by Travis Curry) Saturday night’s championship game belonged to the Clovers. They jumped out to a 16-0 lead over the South Putnam Eagles and really never looked back.


Sophomore point guard Jalen Moore drives the ball to the hoop on Saturday night. Moore scored 41 points on the weekend. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Sophomore point guard Jalen Moore drives the ball to the hoop on Saturday night. Moore scored 41 points on the weekend. (Photo by Brent Ranard) They led 22-7 at the end of the first quarter behind nine points by Neese, seven points by Moore, four points by Wilkes, and two points by Winders.

They stretched their lead to 37-18 at the half with Moore sitting on the bench much of the second quarter due to having three personal fouls.

The Eagles made a slight run in the third quarter when they outscored the Clovers 16-11 and cut the lead to 53-34 heading into the final period.

Moore was on the bench again with his fourth foul and Butler commit Neese decided it was time to take over. He nailed four straight three-pointers from well behind the volleyball line on the first four possessions of the fourth quarter. The bombs kept the large contingent of Clover fans on their feet and propelled Cloverdale to a 19-point win and the Putnam County Championship.


Junior Cooper Neese cuts his piece of the net after the South Putnam win. Neese scored a gamehigh 40 points and sank eight three-pointers on the night. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Junior Cooper Neese cuts his piece of the net after the South Putnam win. Neese scored a gamehigh 40 points and sank eight three-pointers on the night. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Neese led all scorers with 40 points on the night including eight three-pointers.

“Cooper was a closer tonight,” Rady said. “He is a huge Kobe Bryant fan and he attended Kobe’s last game in Indianapolis on Monday night. When Jalen got in foul trouble, Cooper did what great players do. He took over the game. He knocked down shots, created for teammates and was a monster on the boards.”

Neese was excited about bringing the bucket home. “It was really great to win this championship for Cloverdale this weekend,” the 6’4” junior added. “We won it when I was a freshman (when he hit a last-second shot to get the title over North Putnam) but for our younger guys it was their first time so it really feels good. Our team has improved so much since the start of this season. We never would have beaten Greencastle early on. The guys have worked very hard and it has shown in our play the last few weeks.”

When asked about his 40-point performance and nailing those four deep three pointers, Neese smiled and said, “I was defiantly hitting my shots tonight. It is tough to bounce back after a difficult overtime game like we had on Friday night. I was not really on with my threepoint shots against Greencastle but tonight it was there. If I can get enough room to take the long shot I feel that I can knock it down.”

To go along with Neese’s 40 points, Moore added 15 points in his limited playing time. Wilkes chipped in eight points on the night and junior Seth Pfaff and Hall had three points apiece. Winders also scored two points.

South Putnam was led by freshmen Alan Plunkett who scored 19 points and Dalton Scott who added 10 in the losing effort.

The Clovers were able to ride a full-court trap and a zone defense both nights to victory. “I thought our fullcourt and half-court pressure was really good from the opening tip both nights,” Rady commented. “We wanted to speed South Putnam up and we wanted to keep Greencastle from penetrating and force them to take outside shots. I think we were successful with our game plans both nights and that led the championship.”

South Putnam made it to the championship game by upsetting North Putnam in game one on Friday 40- 38. The Cougars had beaten the Eagles twice already this season coming into the tournament.

North Putnam pulled off an upset of their own in the consolation game on Saturday when they knocked off Greencastle 67-63 to take the third place spot. Greencastle had beaten all three of the other county teams coming into the game but settled for fourth place on their home court.

The two wins move the Clovers’ overall record to 15-6 on the season and they are currently on a six-game winning streak. They will be in action again on Tuesday night, February 15, at home when Rockville (10-9) visits Tucker Court. Junior varsity action tips off at 6:00 p.m. with the varsity matchup to follow at 7:30.

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