MINT HILL, NC – The Lady Patriots suffered their first loss of the season in a game they should have won. The lead changed hands many times, the Patriots could not make key shots when it counted. It fact this loss can clearly be contributed to the teams worst shooting performance of the season to date. They had their opportunities but simply were not landing their outside perimeter shots.
Independence did not respond as well as they could have when Hopewell applied a full-court press from the opening tipoff. Also, they did not get the offensive performance from their two top scorers who have been averaging 39 points per game. Kamryn Kitchen (16.0 ppg), has proven to be a solid 3-point shooter went 0-7 on the night from this range scoring 7 points. The team’s top scoring threat Kaylee Carson (23.3 ppg) scored 12 points all on drives to the basket. In a two-point loss, the team’s off-night cold-shooting percentage from the floor made the difference in the final outcome.
Meanwhile, Chloe Moss another sophomore with plenty of potential had her best game of the season scoring 16 points keeping the Patriots in the game all night long against a stingy and aggressive defensive effort by the Lady Titans. They slowed the tempo of the game down several times, the strategy worked fairly well as the hard-charging, fast-paced, fast break, running Patriots had to make adjustments throughout the contest.
The slow down game was effective in the first period as the Lady Patriots were held to just 10 points, Kitchen 4, Moss 4, and Todd on a nice 10 foot jumper. Carson the teams top scorer was held to no points for the first time this season when she was doubled teamed whenever she touched the ball.
The second period the teams exchanged baskets up and down the court, and Carson was able score 6 points to lead the Patriots attack. Kalia Ingram 6’3″ entered the game and gave the team a spark by grabbing a few key rebounds and scoring a basket to make a good timely contribution. By the time the first half ended the home team held a 22-17 advantage at the intermission.
This writer and Patriot fans were expecting the second half to be controlled by the home team. Since both Carson and Kitchen the teams top scorers were expected to break out, it just never happened. Carson was held to only 6 more points, and Kitchen who seemed hesitant to shoot the 3-pointer, or even a jump shot when open, relied instead on driving to the basket scoring only from the foul line and did a good job of ball movement while adding assists. Moss took over the scoring providing 8 points for the remainder of the contest.
In the end the Patriots still had an opportunity to pull off the win, but fell short when they could not work for an open shot opportunity with only 9.6 seconds remaining. They simply could not get the ball into their best shooters hands to take a game-tying or winning shot as the clock ran out on them. This was a winnable game that simply got away, and the home squad will have to rally when they take on Ardrey Kell on Friday night on the road. Believe it will take a solid defensive effort and their top scorers to produce and bounce back to form to bring home the victory.