MINT HILL, NC – In the second round of the 2022-23 NCHSAA Girls Basketball Championship the Lady Patriots took control of this particular contest in the second half taking care of business. However, the Lady Pirates coming off an upset double overtime win in the opening round against #9 seed Parkland had other ideas. They entered “The Pit” with a little chip on their shoulder in the first half focused on pulling off their second upset of the tournament.
Porter Ridge jumped out on a 7-1 run only 3 minutes into the game. After a Indy time out, Kamryn Kitchen swished a 3-pointer making a statement that Indy was ready to rumble. However, J’yana Salton the Pirates senior PG scoring leader was poised to have a big night on the road. She scored 9 points in the opening period giving the visitors a 13-11 advantage after the first period of competition. Indy’s Jessica Worthey led the home squad with 6 points in the period.
In the second period it was the Pirates Sidney Blackwell who led the field scoring 8 points including a 3-point jumper from the top of the key. Indy kept close with 3-pointers made by Jai’lun Brimmer, and Chloe Moss. But Indy seemed only interested with shooting from the 3-point range instead of inside the paint and driving to the hoop using their speed and power. Indy did not land their 3-point shots missing multiple scoring opportunities and found themselves down 27-25 at the intermission.
The momentum was with the Pirates as they were in the drivers seat thinking upset. However, in the third period Indy continued to shoot from the 3-point range and drilled three of them, Kitchen 2 shots, and Hannan Moss contributed another. Meanwhile, Salton had another solid period with 9 points for the Pirates, with Blackwell adding 5 of her own. The Pirates ended the period with a 42-39 edge and just 8 minutes remaining in the contest.
In the final period, Indy stepped up their defense, implemented both a half court and full court press applying a lot of pressure on the Pirates who had difficulty making the adjustment against the Indy defense. They even seemed to apply a 3-1 box defense shadowing Salton holding her down to just a 3-point basket. The coaches game court adjustment worked as the Indy players executed it to perfection. Indy outscored their opponent 16-3 leading to the 10 point victory and advancing to the next round.
Kamryn Kitchen scored 15 points, Brimmer 15, Worthey 9, Hannah Moss 8, Chloe Moss 5, and Lola Cabaniss-Ali 3 for Independence. While Salton led all scorers with 25 points and teammate Blackwell contributed 14 for the Pirates.
Indy will now advance to the Sweet 16 and hit the road against the #1 seed Lake Norman. This game is going to be a struggle for Indy, especially with the potential loss of Jessica Worthey due to an injury sustained against the Pirates. Some players are going to have to step it up to fill the void to give Indy a legitimate shot at the upset against a very solid Lake Norman basketball team who is undefeated on the season.