Cloverdale wraps up best season in decades with 26-3 record
The varsity basketball Eagles wrapped up their most successful season in nearly four decades on March 5, falling to the visiting Priory Panthers, 64-50 in the semifinals of the CIF Nor Cal State playoffs.
The loss gave Cloverdale a final season record of 26-3.
The Eagles entered the prestigious Nor Cal tourney as the No. 1 seed, drawing a first-round bye before easily dispatching No. 8 Yreka, 55-31 in the quarterfinals on March 3. No. 4 Priory advanced with a 70-53 win over No. 5 Denair to set up the semifinal clash in Cloverdale.
Things started well enough for the Eagles on Tuesday, taking it to the Panthers from the opening tip to grab a 15-8 lead after one. The visitors shook off the slow start in the second quarter, employing an up-tempo offense and the inside presence of 6’ 9” center Steve Emeneke (7 blocks) to stun the Eagles on a 30-8 run for a 38-23 halftime cushion.
The teams traded buckets in an evenly played third quarter but Cloverdale still trailed, 52-39 after three. Midnight finally struck for the Eagles in the final period, as the Panthers matched every surge to preserve a 64-50 victory.
Junior Caden Axell turned in one of his best performances of the season with a team-high 15 points, while leading scorer Dylan Muller chipped in 14 for Cloverdale.