Indy Falls to Catholic In Heartbreaker 54-51

Indy's Ralph Johnson scores a basket. (Photos by Ron Morris)
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MINT HILL, NC – The Independence Patriots basketball team fell short Tuesday night on the road against a resilient Charlotte Catholic Cougar team 54-51. The Cougars who started out slow in the first half along with an aggressive Patriot defense bounced back in the second half outscoring the visitors 33-23 to squeeze out a hard-fought victory.

Tosh Alberga getting denied by Jake Kernodle.

The Patriots playing without senior guard Bryce Brooks banned together and the next man had to step up and plug the gap. The team’s third guard sophomore Jordan Appling who has played well all season off the bench for Indy did exactly what was expected of him by Coach Preston Davis. In fact, he filled in so well Appling was named the ‘Player of the Game’ by the coaching staff. The youngster took advantage of an opportunity and certainly made the most of it showing the coaches what is yet to come with two more seasons remaining in his high school career.

Indy began the game with a lot of energy, they ended the first period with a well-earned 14-8 lead over the Cougars. Charlotte Catholic did get a scare when their talented big man 6’8″ Pat Tivnan went down with an apparent injury and trainers had to assist him straight to the locker room. However, he did come out for the second period to continue to compete without any issues and appeared to be fine.

Indy player drives to the basket.

In the second period, both teams exchanged baskets with Indy getting a slight advantage when Appling nailed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to outscore the Cougars 14-13 and take a comfortable 28-21 advantage at intermission.

In the second half, the Cougars began to take control of this game. In particular during the third period when they outscored the Patriots 17-9 using their size advantage effectively under the boards to take a 38-37 edge entering into the final period.

The final 8:00 minutes was a hard-fought battle where the Cougars were able to prevail and outscore the visitors 16-14 on their homecourt. When Tivnan fouled out with 1:46 remaining the Patriots had an opportunity to pull off a nice road win. Unfortunately, even after Catholic Coach, Mike King was called for a technical, the Patriots made only 1-4 free throws. The basketball game was ultimately decided from the free-throw line with Catholic making enough shots to pull out the come from behind conference victory.

Appling led Indy with 14 points, Sabastian Taylor 9, Ralph Johnson 8, Kameron Jasper 8, and Tosh Alberga 8. While the Cougars Tivnan led all scorers with 21 points, and Vaughn Thomas contributed 19 for the victors.

Independence will host Garinger on Friday night in “The Pit” and Charlotte Catholic with travel to play Rocky River at the Ravens Nest.

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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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