BY STEVE FIELDS
For the Brazil Times
CLAY CITY -- Clay City 's emotional high of beating Eastern Greene on Friday, winning four straight games and celebrating homecoming was brought crashing to the floor Saturday night by the Cloverdale Clovers.
Just nine seconds after Josh Miller turned a Blake Cesinger pass into a 73-71 lead, Cloverdale's Brandon Dorman hit a three-point shot from the top of the free throw circle to give the Clovers a 74-73 win over the Eels.
"We were man (defense) all the way and we wanted to make sure we covered (Cloverdale's) shooters. I don't even know if that kid had scored all game and he steps up and nails a shot. We had a guy flying at him. I thought it was pretty good defense. He just made a shot," Clay City coach Vance Edmondson said.
Cesinger led Clay City in just about every way. He netted 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and set up teammates for open shots throughout the game. Miller finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.
Trevor Singer scored 17 points for the Eels, all coming in the first half, and Evan Rogers had 12 points, 10 in the first half.
With Cesinger penetrating and dishing, Clay City took a 27-21 lead in the opening quarter. The Eels extended their lead to 39-27 with 4:32 left in the second period when Cesinger found Singer for an open three from the baseline. That was Singer's last basket.
"That's what happens at halftime. You're going to make adjustments, good coaches do and coach (Pat) Rady is a heckuva coach. You got to give (Cloverdale) credit. They identified our shooters and they got out on them in the second half and we couldn't find them and make shots," Edmondson said.
Cloverdale changed to a man-to-man defense and that made all the difference. Singer and Rogers were not open again the rest of the night. Clay City did not score in the final 4:08 of the first half, as Cloverdale put together a 12-0 run.
"I thought we did a good job of staying in front of them (on defense). But (Blake) Cesinger's tough. He's a great player. He's got a savvy about him," Cloverdale's Pat Rady said.
Clay City led 39-37 at halftime, but less than three minutes into the third period Cloverdale took a 46-44 lead. Cloverdale took a six-point lead with 1:45 left in the quarter, but a Miller free throw, steal and lay up by Logan Cesinger cut the Eels' deficit to 57-54 going into the final eight minutes.
Clay City 's Miller tied the score 66-66 with 3:46 to play and Blake Cesinger gave the Eels two more leads, the last at 71-69. Miller's go-ahead basket wasn't enough for the win.
"Blake Cesinger did a good job getting to the hole. I thought Josh Miller did a wonderful job the second half of being aggressive, taking the ball to the basket, getting fouled and getting to the line. And that's what we need, but it just comes down to defense for us," Edmondson said, pointing to the outstanding defense the Eels played Friday against Eastern.
"I always tell (the Eels) there are five possessions in a game where if you get stops you're going to win most of those games. We didn't those five stops tonight."
Clay City 's JV did get a win, topping Cloverdale 48-29. Noah Denker led the Eels with 16 points.
Cloverdale (74) -- Pfaff 4-6 5-11 13, Z. Dorman 3-5 4-5 10, Scott 6-9 5-6 17, Collet 2-5 0-0 4, Schroer 7-16 7-16 23, B. Dorman 2-3 0-0 5, Hughes 1-1 0-0 2, Cummings 0-1 0-0 0, Cupp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-46 FG, 16-24 FT, 74 TP.
Clay City (73) -- Singer 6-14 0-0 17, Rogers 3-12 4-4 12, Miller 4-5 7-12 15, L. Cesinger 2-4 0-0 4, B. Cesinger 8-19 5-9 21, Yocom 0-0 2-2 2, Booe 0-4 2-4 2, Phillips 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 23-61 FG, 20-31 FT, 73 TP.
3Pt. Goals: Cd 8-17 (Schroer 7-16, B. Dorman 1-1), CC 7-23 (Singer 5-10, Rogers 2-11, B. Cesinger 0-1, Phillips 0-1). Total fouls: Cd 18, CC 17. Fouled out: Scott. Technical fouls: Clay City (B. Cesinger). Turnovers: Cd 19, CC 13. Rebounds: Cd 32 (Z. Dorman 11, Scott 6), CC 38 (B. Cesinger 13, Miller 8). Steals: Cd 3 (Pfaff, Collet, Schroer), CC 11 (Singer, Rogers 3). JV game: Clay City won 48-29.
Next game: Cloverdale (3-10, 0-3 in WCC) will host North Putnam on Friday and Clay City (7-6, 2-1 in SWIAC) play at home against Brown County .