In a game that was much more intense than the final score would indicate, the Independence Patriots rolled past the visiting East Mecklenburg Eagles in a Southwestern 4A Conference win.
Indy’s Nygell Verdier opened the scoring with a baseline jumper, which was answered by the Eagles. After tying the score, East Meck scored on a baseline jumper of its own followed by a free throw giving the Eagles a 5-2 lead.
With 5:44 remaining in the first period, De’Drick Givens scored off an offensive rebound cutting the Eagles’ score to one point 5-4.
The Eagles moved out to a 10-4 lead until Indy’s De’Drick Givens scored in the lane to make the score 10-6.
With 3:27 showing on the game clock, Indy’s coach Preston Davis sent Omarion Bodrick into the game. This was Omarion’s first appearance since the Myers Park game. Omarion, who played sick during the Myers Park game and missed the Hickory Ridge game with the flu, looked as though he had fully recovered scoring on a baseline dunk to cut the Eagles’ lead to two points 10-8.
At the 2:48 mark, Anthony Allen created a turnover and made the alley-oop pass to Omarion Bodrick for the slam dunk cutting East Meck’s lead to one point 11-10.
Indy’s Nygell Verdier gave Indy the lead by hitting two free throws to make the score 12-11 as the first quarter came to an end.
With 4:08 remaining in the first half, Anthony Allen scored on a 3-point basket putting the Patriots up 17-15. On East Meck’s next possession the Eagles answered with a 3-pointer of their own to retake the lead 18-17.
The Patriots retook the lead at the 3:14 mark. Indy’s Reggie Smith grabbed a defensive rebound and made a full court pass to Anthony Allen who scored on a layup. With 2:52 left in the quarter, Jalen Hinton made a steal and nailed a jumper increasing Indy’s lead 21-18. A few seconds later, at the 2:34 mark, Jalen hit a baseline 3-pointer making the score 24-18 in Indy’s favor. With 1:24 left in the first half, Anthony Allen hit a 3-pointer to make the score 27-23 at the end of the first half.
At the start of the third quarter, the Patriots went on an 8-0 run to make the score 35-23. After cutting the score to ten 35-25, Indy’s De’Drick Givens scored on a drive down the lane giving the Patriots a 37-25 lead.
After that possession, the game got really interesting. With 2:55 remaining in the third quarter, Indy was whistled for a personal foul. Within seconds of the call, an Indy player was hit with a technical foul. Coach Davis attempted to talk with the referee who called the technical, but he refused to speak with the coach. Coach Davis called time out and again attempted to speak with the referee who walked away. Coach Davis waived off the official. Then the official whistled Coach Davis for a technical. That call may have been a big mistake for the Eagles because up to that point East Meck was still in the game. After East Meck made 4-of-the-6 foul shots to make the score 37-29, the Patriots perspective and demeanor seemed to change.
In the next three minutes, Indy went on a 20-0 run giving Indy a 57-29 lead and taking East Meck out of the game.
The Patriots went on to take the conference win 72-42 and remain tied for first place.
Anthony Allen led the Patriots with 18 points. He had 2 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal. Jalen Hinton added 9 points and had 2 steals. Omarion Bodrick scored 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot. Nygell Verdier had 8 points, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 blocked shot. Reggie Smith scored 8 points, had 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot. De’Drick Givens added 8 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and had 1 steal. Tachai Miller scored 6 points, pulled down 9 rebounds. He had 3 assists and 4 steals. Zaire May had 3 points and 1 steal. Landon King added 2 points, had 2 assists and 1 steal. Lee Harrington also had 2 points and 1 steal.
East Mecklenburg 11 12 6 13 – 42
Independence 12 15 26 19 – 72