Cloverdale awaiting Nor Cal State tourney berth
The Eagles’ quest for a coveted North Coast Section (NCS) Division 5 championship came to an end in the NCS semifinals on Feb. 22, as No. 1 seeded Cloverdale fell to the No. 4 seeded Urban Blues in a heartbreaker, 56-54.
The loss came on the heels of a 57-47 victory over visiting St. Vincent in the NCS quarterfinals four days earlier.
Although disappointing, the setback against Urban did not end the Eagles’ season, as they await a berth in the CIF Nor Cal State playoffs, which begin next Tuesday. Cloverdale (25-2) will learn its seeding in a CIF seeding meeting this Sunday.
Eagles’ playoff run falls short
Cloverdale played host to No. 8 St. Vincent of Petaluma in the NCS Division 5 quarterfinals on Feb. 18, battling the Mustangs throughout a tight first half to grab a 25-23 edge at the break. The Eagles stepped up their defensive pressure in the third quarter, limiting St. Vincent to just six points as they opened up a 40-29 cushion heading into the final period. The Mustangs mounted a fourth-quarter surge to briefly cut the deficit to six, but Cloverdale would hang on for a 57-47 victory. Senior Gabe Wlodarczyk led the attack with a game-high 20 points, while senior Dylan Muller and junior Casey Lemley added 16 and 10 points respectively.
The win set up a semifinal clash with visiting No. 4 Urban on Feb. 22, with the Eagles getting off to a sluggish start to trail 18-12 at the end of one. Cloverdale cranked up its offense in the second period, reeling off a 19-9 run to lead at the half, 31-27. The see-saw battle raged on in the third quarter as the Blues outscored Cloverdale, 23-9 in the period to surge into the lead at 50-40. But the Eagles showed the heart of a champion in the final stanza, as Muller led a furious comeback that would knot the contest at 54-all with time winding down. The dream ended when Urban’s Jake Rodriguez scored on a lay-up with six seconds remaining as the visitors escaped with a 56-54 victory. Muller led the way with 19 points, while Lemley chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Lady Eagles routed by Marin Catholic
The No. 16 seeded Cloverdale varsity girls saw their season come to an end on Feb. 16 in the NCS Division 4 opener at No. 1 seeded juggernaut Marin Catholic, falling to the Wildcats in a 55-15 rout. The Eagles finished the winter campaign with an overall record of 9-16.
Sophomore Tylie Hatcher capped a breakout campaign with a team-high seven points. Also in the scoring column were freshman Amara Galvan (5 points) and sophomore Briana McNulty (3 points).