Independence High School 120 lb. wrestler Jennifer Solares Zeledon took on East Meck’s Nebyu Assefa in the semi-final match at the SW4A Conference Tournament. She was pinned, but only in the last period at 5:24. Zeledon ended up taking third place at the tournament. The Patriots took second place as a team to Porter Ridge. […]
By Andrew Stark
For four consecutive seasons the Rocky River girls basketball team has been ascending, but even to some of the team’s veterans something about this year feels a little different.
The change starts at the top, with first-year coach Epiphany Woodson taking the reigns of a program that won a school-record 19 games a season ago, up from 11 the previous season and 10 in 2010-11 after going winless in 2009-10.
Woodson, a former standout at Providence Day who later played at the University of Miami and for the Charlotte 49ers before a brief pro career overseas, was an assistant on last year’s state champion Myers Park team under Barbara Nelson, a Charlotte coaching legend who won seven state titles at Providence Day, including three with Woodson as her point guard.
But Woodson said she wasn’t thinking of coaching, and especially not in high school, last year. She had just come back from overseas and was settling into a corporate job when Nelson called and asked if she’d help out when she had time.
“Without that experience last year, this would be a lot tougher,” said Woodson, who has guided the Ravens to a 15-2 start to open the season. “Last year did prepare me for this, although I didn’t know it was coming.
“I knew (the Ravens) were talented and I knew that along with Butler they were the up-and-coming teams in the area, but I didn’t pay them that much attention last year except when they played Myers Park. When I started thinking about coaching, this is the job that I really wanted because I knew it was a great school with great facilities and I knew there was talent here. It’s been a blessing for me.”
And Woodson is right, there is no shortage of talent on Rocky River’s roster.
Sophomore guard Ariana Nance leads the team with 15.6 points per game, but six Ravens average 7.4 or more points and eight players average at least 2.2 rebounds per game, providing a depth most teams aren’t afforded on the high school level.
“Everyone is stepping up in different ways to do whatever they can to help our team win,” Woodson said. “They are stepping up their practice habits, their confidence is going up because they see how well they can play when they play together. They’ve played as a team during this stretch, and while we’ve had different individuals step up at different times and moments this year which makes us that much tougher.”
The stretch Woodson is referring to is an eight-game win streak entering their Jan. 20 matchup with Porter Ridge. […]
By Ron Morris
According to head coach Joe Evans his Independence Patriots didn’t open the playoffs with one of their best starts. However, the finish was more than enough to make up for their sluggish first half start as the Patriots beat the Olympic Trojans 35-0 at Independence High School Friday night in the first round of the state football playoffs.
The Patriots received the opening kickoff but were unable to move the ball and had to punt. After getting the ball back, the Patriots’ Qunatavious McGill carried the ball for a twenty yard gain. On the next play McGill went off tackle for a 45 yard touchdown run giving the Patriots an early 7-0 lead with 8:26 left in the first quarter.
For the rest of the first half, neither team could get any offense going. According to Coach Evans his team looked sluggish in the first half saying that he didn’t know if it was the big win over Butler or if it was the bitter cold weather. However, the Patriots got their second score with 43 seconds left in the first half when AJ Peal ran for a 4 yard touchdown giving the Patriots a 14-0 half time lead.The only score in the third quarter came on Indy’s first possession when Kelvin Hopkins hit Jamar Jenkins for a 64 yard touchdown pass making the score 21-0 with 8:07 left in the quarter. […]
By Ron Morris
Entering Friday’s night non-conference battle between county rivals the Hough Huskies and host Independence, the Patriots had been un-scored on and undefeated.
However, at the 8:14 mark in the second quarter, the Patriots gave up 3 points on a 27-yard field goal. Before the game ended, Hough managed to put 17 points on the board, but the Patriots stayed undefeated by defeating Hough 27-17.
Independence was the first to get on the board with 1:30 to go in the first quarter. The Patriots drove the ball 52-yards and on a one yard run by quarterback Kelvin Hopkins. The Patri- ots took the lead 7-0. […]