Indy Demolishes Rocky River In Upset 67-37 Victory

Bryce Brooks goes baseline off pick by Tosh Alberga. (All photos by Ron Morris)
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MINT HILL, NC – The Independence Patriots men’s basketball team destroyed the first place 4A Conference 59 leaders in a unexpected rout in “The Pit” on the Patriots home turf. This game was a blowout that no one saw coming. The home team shot with accuracy, applied outstanding defense, and played with aggressive passion, never giving their opponent an opportunity to put together multiple runs, which the high flying Ravens have a tendency of achieving. The adjustments made in this writer’s opinion by the top coach in the Conference Preston Davis, were perfectly executed by the Patriots. I have watched Davis accomplish this feat many times over the past 5 years; this win was no accident against a very solid Rocky River basketball team.

Dyshawn Taylor with a move to the basket.
Dyshawn Taylor with a move to the basket.

It was David vs. Goliath, and Davis the dragon slayer pulled it off again with the full support of a highly motivated Patriot basketball team who was soundly defeated 56-32 in November at the “Ravens Nest.”

During the Patriots’ 2017-18 state championship season, finishing 30-1 with a very talented team, the Ravens had some great players, most notably Jaden Springer, now playing professionally. Davis systematically dissected the Ravens each time they played, and finally in the Western Regional Championship game at Wake Forest University by over 30 points. Indy had a great team led by Jamarius Burton (University of Pittsburgh) on their roster as well, but the coach was able to get the team to buy into the program and play his style of basketball. Therefore, this year’s fifth-place conference team was able to knock-off the first-place Ravens in convincing fashion. Rocky River won the first matchup in November 56-32 in a spank down.

Sabastian Taylor scores for Patriots.
Sabastian Taylor scores for Patriots.

This game began with Indy taking a 10-4 opening period lead in the first 5 minutes of the contest. Rocky River, according to character, went on an 11-0 run to take a 5 point advantage before Sabastian Taylor converted on the front end of two free throws. The opening period concluded with the Ravens ahead 15-11 on the back of Jaden Lyles 8 points while Taylor scored 5 points for Indy.

In the second frame, the Patriots took charge when senior guard Bryce Brooks with a hot hand caught fire. The southpaw connected on three consecutive 3-pointers, including a jump shot in between to tally 11 points in the period while Taylor added another 4 points along with Tosh Alberga. Indy also controlled the boards at both ends of the hardcourt showing some dominance, along with changing the tempo of the basketball game in their favor.  By the intermission, the Pats held a 30-23 edge over the Ravens.

In the second half, Indy came out of the tunnel ready to compete at the next level to secure their game plan to rock the Ravens in “The Pit.” With a big, loud and supportive crowd, the Patriots’ momentum grew tremendously. Ralph Johnson scored his first basket, followed by Taylor under the boards on a second rebound opportunity, then Brooks followed with his fourth consecutive 3-point shot to expand Indy’s lead. The Ravens’ Javares Green hit two baskets, but sweet-shooting Dyshawn Taylor countered with a nice 3-pointer from the baseline that swished through the basket with a snap. With the score 41-31, Jordan Appling would drill another Indy 3-pointer putting shock waves into the Ravens as the home town crowd roared in delight. Seconds later, the third period ended, and the Patriots extended their lead to 44-31.

In the final stanza, Indy blew the Ravens off the court at an absolutely furious pace scoring 23 points to outscore their opponent 23-6 in the period. Michael McNair off the bench led the Patriots charge with 10 points and grabbed multiple rebounds. Ralph Johnson, Alberga and Sabastian Taylor dominated the inside game as coach Davis rotated and juggled his big team and three-guard setup in and out of the lineup during timeouts. By deploying this strategy, the Ravens had various different combinations of players to contend with in key situational matchups. The Ravens simply did not respond quickly enough to make the necessary adjustments, giving Indy a favorable advantage.

Bryce Brooks led all scorers with 19 points, Sabastian Taylor 11; Alberga, and McNair each contributed 10 points. Taylor had his second double-double of the season with 11 rebounds, while Alberga hauled down 9. Jaden Lyles scored 12 points for the Ravens and Green added 9.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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