MINT HILL, NC – The Independence Lady Patriots basketball team gave away a game they should have put in the win column on Tuesday night at “The Pit.” The team is now 8-3 on the season, they could easily be 10-1 or undefeated 11-0 at this juncture. This writer can only point to the team being young and having to learn to finish what you started strong, play every minute of the game until it’s over.
The home team led throughout the entire contest taking a 13-8 lead in the first period, 21-11 at the intermission, and 37-27 after three periods to only squander an apparent victory into a crushing defeat against a conference rival. They are now 0-2 in the 4A Conference 59 standings. Losing by a combined 6 points to Charlotte Catholic and Providence.
The ladies had a balanced attack from their three top offensive players Kaylee Carson 15 points, Kamryn Kitchen 13, and Chloe Moss 13. However, the team needs to reduce turnovers, according to my unofficial count the Patriots had accumulated 10. There simply have been too many forced errors and mental mistakes during key game situations. The team under the boards must do a better job in boxing out their opponents. Especially when they have the inside position off an opponent’s foul shot. The players must make an athletic move and get off their feet into the air to grab a rebound. These are fundamentals, they did not apply the basic basketball skills effectively, which eventually cost the Pats an important conference victory on their own homecourt.
The Lady Patriots were outscored 19-6 in the final period based primarily on timely 3-point shooting by the Panthers, but those turnovers, being out hustled to the ball, not following up shots, not boxing out under the boards, and poor 3-point shooting of their own cost them a game they should have won. It appeared the Panthers were determined to pull off the win. They simply seemed to want it more, they would not be denied.
Off the boards the team played well for three periods, Lily Todd grabbed 8 rebounds, and Tamia Burgess 7 both willing to mix it up under the basket. Kitchen had 3 steals, but 4 turnovers, Carson had 2 steals and 1 block, and Moss added 2 blocks.
This is not the same team as the 2020-21 talented senior version who should have won a state 4A championship. They would have if they were able to get past Chambers formerly Vance in the state games losing in overtime by 1 point on a controversial homecourt scoreboard suddenly going dark with only seconds remaining. Chambers blew away their opponent in the championship game, it was not competitive. However, this team is young with good talent especially the core 5 starters with 2 sophomores and 1 freshman who will only mature and get better. The bench is fairly deep and good enough to make a solid contribution. They must continue to work hard on the fundamentals, be in condition for the critical stretch run to compete at a high level. There needs to be more consistency, and be prepared to compete for all 32:00 minutes finishing strong.
Both Catholic and Providence showed they can gut it out to the end, and some of this internal fire must begin to show up if this young team is going to be successful against the more experienced and best teams in the conference and state.