NCS battle • Above left, senior Greg Scaramella pulled up for a jumper in Saturday's 69-39 NCS playoff loss at Cardinal Newman.

Cloverdale finishes great season with 21-6 record
Playoff basketball can be a cruel endeavor, as a season-ending loss can often overshadow an otherwise outstanding season.
That will not be the case for the varsity basketball Eagles this year, a team that achieved most of its season goals before suffering a tough, 69-39 loss to highly ranked Cardinal Newman in the quarterfinals of the North Coast Section Division-4 playoffs.
The loss ended the Eagle’s championship season with a final overall mark of 21-6.
Win over Fortuna
Cloverdale opened the NCS playoffs in dominant fashion on Feb. 25, scoring a 49-33 victory over visiting Fortuna. The win came in front of a raucous home crowd erupting with every basket and avenged a streak of five straight losses to the Huskies dating back several years.
The Eagles set the tone with stifling defensive pressure in the first half, holding Fortuna to single digits in each quarter to grab a 27-18 advantage at the break. There was no let-up after intermission, maintaining a two-digit lead in the final two quarters in an eventual, 49-33 win.
“It was a good team effort against a good team,” CHS coach Steve Bernardi said.  “We defended really well, and John (McMillan) got us off to a great start with a couple of breakaway dunks that got the crowd fired up.”
Marcus Poe led the attack with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while McMillan chipped in 11 points and 10 boards. Adrian Bernardi played outstanding defense for the Eagles.
Battle with Newman
The win set up a titanic NCS quarterfinal clash at top-seeded Cardinal Newman on Saturday, a contest played before a huge, standing room only crowd in Santa Rosa.
The Cardinals took charge early, exploiting a cold-shooting Eagles squad in racing to a commanding, 35-16 advantage at the half.
Things didn’t go much better after the break, as Newman extended its lead to 25 by the end of three en route to a 69-39 win.
“We missed some inside shots early in the game and it just snowballed from there,” said coach Steve Bernardi, before thanking the legion of Cloverdale fans that filled the stands behind the Eagles bench. “That game will give us the incentive to get better so we can come back and eventually beat a Catholic school like Newman.”
Travis Kitowski paced the offense with a team-high 12 points, while Poe added 10 for the Eagles.

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