Rocky River girls dominate Sun Valley, 49-36

By Kevin Baker

Sports Writer
kevin@minthilltimes.com

The Rocky River Ravens girls’ basketball team defeated the game but overmatched the Sun Valley Spartans last Friday night 49-36 on the Ravens’ home court. This was the second time the Ravens and Spartans have played this year. The Ravens won the first meeting, at Sun Valley, 39-36.
The Raven girls had to come from behind in that game to pull out the win. There was no such drama this time around. The final score was not indicative of the Ravens’ dominance.
The Ravens were intent to set the tempo from the beginning. They won the tap and immediately went inside the lane. The shot was missed, but the strategy was apparent. Rocky River wanted to push the pace. In fact, both teams came out of the locker room pressing full court. This seemed to play right into the Ravens’ girls hands as they shot out to a 16-5 lead. Sun Valley fought back to 16-10 in the last minute of the first quarter. Rocky River had the ball last and worked the clock down for the last shot. Senior Center Aliyah Hason scored on a pretty inside move at the buzzer and the quarter ended with Rocky River leading 18-10.
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Two Patriot wrestlers are champions at county tourney

By Frank Smithwick

Sports Writer
frank@minthilltimes.com

Eighteen schools participated in the two-day Al Kessie Mecklenburg County Wrestling Tournament held at Olympic High School this past weekend. 
The tournament is named after a former coach and athletic director in CMS who started the tournament many years ago. 
From Mint Hill, Independence, Rocky River, and first time participant Queens Grant wrestled. 
Queens Grant came away with one place winner, Connor Day, who took fourth place at 145 lbs. Rocky River had one place winner as well, Seth Johnson, who came in fourth place in the 195 lbs. weight class.
The Independence wrestling team came in third in team points without a full lineup.
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Independence can’t stop Butler’s Stribling from scoring

Last Friday night, two teams about six miles apart met in the second round of the NCHSAA 4AA playoffs: Butler and Independence. It was a home game for Butler, but since their stadium can’t hold the expected numbers, the game was at Memorial Stadium in Charlotte.

This was the second time in three weeks that these two teams met, the first time being to decide the winner of the SW4A regular season conference. Butler came out on top during the first meeting, and Indy was hoping to change the outcome this time.

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Independence’s cannon a forceful tradition

The cannon looks on as the Independence Patriots run onto the field for their November 2 playoff win vs. NW Guilford.
PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

For nearly 50 years, the Independence Patriots football team has been celebrating every touchdown and field goal with the blast of a cannon, tallying their score on the eardrums of the entire town.

The tradition started in 1966, when Independence High School first opened, and principal Sam Haywood enrolled the school in a contest, one where the prize was a new mascot.

“This was going to be forever, he wanted us to have the opportunity to be part of something great,” said Doug Pressley, former Independence teacher who now manages operations of the cannon.

The contest was held by Lay’s Meats and radio station 61 AM Big Waves Radio, to see which school could collect the most Lay’s Meat labels.

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New Clear Creek principal named

The Charlotte-Meck- lenburg Board of Education appointed Deborah McSwain Heath principal at Clear Creek Elementary. Heath is currently an assistant principal of instruction at Independence High School.

Deborah McSwain Heath

She began her career with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as a language arts teacher at Carmel Middle School in 1987. She has also taught language arts and social studies at Druid Hills Elementary, Albemarle Road Elementary, Northeast Middle, and Mint Hill Middle schools. Heath became a principal intern at Independence in 2006 and an assistant principal in 2007.

Heath has a master’s in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary and middle grades education.

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Indy wins close first round game, gets rematch with Butler

Friday, November 2, the Independence football team got their wish by narrowly beating NW Guilford in an offensive shootout at home. The win helped set up a rematch of the last regular season game, Butler vs Independence.

NW came in with a loaded running game. The Vikings of NW won the toss but deferred the kick to Indy. On their first posses- sion, Indy could not score after gaining a first down on a 12-yard reception from Kelvin Hopkins to Workpeh Kofa, and Jason Connella punted the ball away. It took NWG only eight plays to score when QB Andrew Ritz ran it on the keeper play to put the Vikings up 7-0 at the seven minutes and 43 second mark in the first quarter.

Workpeh Kofa would bring the ball out to the Indy 27 yard line on the kick return. It took Indy five minutes and 15 seconds to cap off an 11-play drive when RB Isiah Robinson would run two yards for the patriot score, 7 to 7.

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