MINT HILL, NC – Oh Doctor! The Independence Lady Patriots the No. 15 ranked team upset the No. 1 ranked Cougars on the road with a 62-61 huge 4A Conference 59 victory. The winning shot was made by junior Jessica Worthey with 16 seconds remaining in the contest.
Actually, Worthey opened up the scoring for Indy with a 3-pointer in the first period and ended the game with another 3- point jump shot from the top of the key for the upset victory. This is quite a feat considering scoring the first points of the contest with 7:28 into the game, then the final and winning points of the game with time running out.
To provide a recap of the game both teams started out at a fast pace jockeying for an advantage in the early going. The pace was furious, the girls battled head to head and competed with fury. This matchup has developed into a new rivalry as the Lady Cougars were able to defeat Indy last season in some tight basketball games including the conference championship game. However, tonight the Lady Patriots had some other ideas and we quickly noticed a determination that was evident from the moment they stepped on to the basketball court.
After Worthey connected on 3-pointer from the baseline. Kamryn Kitchen followed with another 3-pointer to take a 6-2 early lead. Then with the score 9-7 Indy, Kitchen came down with a defensive rebound and went coast to coast for the layup. On the next possession Chloe Moss grabbed the offensive rebound and completed the stick back making the score 14-7. The period ended with Indy holding a 14-9 advantage with a good start.
In the second period, Lola Cabaniss-Ali hauled down a rebound and picked up a basket. However, the lead would change 4 times in the period, Indy finally began a run with the score 21-20 Cougars with 2:03 remaining. Worthey scored under the basket putting Indy ahead 22-21, then scored again but missed the free throw, however, Kitchen answered and swished a 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining. Then Moss and Worthey added two more baskets and Indy had a 31-21 edge on an 11-0 run gaining momentum.
After the Intermission, the Cougars came roaring back to cut the Indy lead. The Cougars 6’5″ standout Blanca Thomas led the comeback with contributions from teammates Olivia Fava and Gracynn Gough. The home team dominated the third period outscoring the Lady Patriots 24-15. However, the Indy trio of Kitchen, Cabaniss-Ali, and Worthey prevailed and weathered the storm and held on to a slim 46-45 lead.
In the final period, Moss opened up with a 15 foot jump shot for Indy. She then followed up with two more baskets keeping pace with Charlotte Catholic who were doing some scoring of their own. The score changed hands several times with Indy maintaining an edge until 4:57 remaining in the contest when Catholic went ahead 54-52. Suddenly the Lady Cougars were leading 60-55 with 1:57 remaining. Worthey scored with 1:23 on the clock 60-57, a turnover by Catholic gave Indy possession, Kitchen shoots a 3-pointer and is fouled, she swishes 2-3 free throws, it’s now 60-59. Catholic is fouled goes to the foul line and missed both free throws, Indy grabs the rebound, but is double-teamed girls go to the floor and Catholic gets possession with 25 seconds left. Indy promptly fouls, and Catholic makes 1-2 free throws with the score 61-59. Then with 16 seconds on the scoreboard, Worthey drills a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Indy a 62-61 lead. Catholic losses the ball out of bounds on the inbound pass and Indy takes possession. Indy is fouled, on a 1-1 the free throw rolls off the rim, Catholic grabs the rebound takes a desperation shot from behind mid-court and Indy takes home a hard-fought victory.
Worthey led all scorers with 21 points, Kitchen 19, Chloe Moss 12, Cabaniss-Ali 6, and Hannah Moss 4 for Indy. Thomas led the scoring for Catholic with 20 points, she also had 14 rebounds and 5 blocks for a strong double-double performance, Fava 19, Gough 9, Harper Mckain 7, Aniyah Scales 3, Katie McArdle 3 for the Cougars in an exciting basketball matchup. Independence Lady Patriots are now 6-1 overall, and 1-0 in conference competition.