2016-12-27 / Front Page

Neese joins the 2,000 point club, Clovers outlast Monrovia in OT

by Brent Ranard
for the Spencer Evening World


Cloverdale senior Cooper Neese fires three of his 29 points against Monrovia Wednesday evening. Neese also surpassed 2,000 points for his career to become 45th all-time in the State of Indiana. (Photo by Brent Ranard) Cloverdale senior Cooper Neese fires three of his 29 points against Monrovia Wednesday evening. Neese also surpassed 2,000 points for his career to become 45th all-time in the State of Indiana. (Photo by Brent Ranard) The Cloverdale boys varsity basketball team let a 12 point fourth quarter lead slip away at home Wednesday night against Monrovia (2-4), but sealed the deal in overtime 74-71.

The Bulldogs took an early 7-2 lead in the first quarter on some hot three-point shooting from seniors Luke Smith and Luke Seber who combined for three bombs in the period.

The Clovers fired back with their one-two punch of Cooper Neese and Jalen Moore. The duo combined for 18 points and Cloverdale led 18-15 going into the second quarter.

Cloverdale extended their lead to 37-31 at the intermission and Neese scored 17 first half points. Neese’s 18th point came on a free throw less than a minute into the third quarter and it was a huge milestone for the 6’4” Butler bound senior. He joined only 46 other players in Indiana high school basketball history by scoring his 2000th career point.

His 29 points on the night moved him to 2011 and 45th all-time just ahead of Luke Recker of DeKalb high school from 1997. He will continue to climb the list and has a chance to end up near the top 10.

“It is just a great testament to all the hard work that Cooper has put in during countless hours in the gym,” Cloverdale head coach Patrick Rady commented. “He is so proud to put on that Cloverdale uniform, and to get his 1000th and 2000th points right here at Tucker Court is extra special for him, the school, and the whole community.”

Neese is the first player from Putnam County to reach the 2000 point mark.

Cloverdale led 55-46 going into the fourth quarter and extended the lead to 12. It looked like they would put Monrovia away but the pesky Bulldogs refused to go away and battled back to take a 68-65 lead with just 14 seconds remaining.

Coach Rady called a timeout and set up a double screen for Neese who got loose for a baseline three pointer that tied up the game and sent it into overtime.

Moore came up big causing a turnover with his hustle and hitting 7-8 free throws down the stretch and Cloverdale was able to hang on for the three point overtime victory.

Moore ended up with 25 points to go along with Neese’s 29. Senior Seth Pfaff had an excellent offensive night hitting double figures with 11 points. Jake Wilkes had seven points and Nick Winders added two.

The Bulldogs were paced by Smith who scored a game high 32 and Seber who had 20. Max Newman added 14 points in the losing effort.

Rady was happy to get the win over a tough Bulldog team that is in Cloverdale’s sectional.

“Monrovia has a well-coached team and has some seniors that have been through a lot of battles,” he said. “They hit big shot after big shot all night and you have to give them a lot of credit.

“We have really been working on ball pressure and I think that paid off for us tonight.” He added, “We need to shore up a few rebounding issues but we made some strides tonight. Our matchup zone seemed to throw their offense off at times tonight. I was proud of the kids finding a way to win once we lost the lead. We have to play smarter basketball but they showed some character and heart down the stretch.”

The Clovers season record moves to 5-4 on the season and they will head into play at the First Financial Wabash Valley Classic tournament that starts on Monday, Dec. 26 at Terre Haute South High School.

Cloverdale will take on the #6 ranked team in 2A in the Linton Minors (3- 2) in game six starting at 5:30 p.m. Rady knows the matchup will be a tough one for his club.

“Linton may be one of the best defensive teams that I have had the opportunity to see play,” he said. “They really come after you and we will have to be ready to play our best basketball of the season.”

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