The Independence Patriots charged past Rocky River in a Southwestern 4A Conference match-up on their home court. On senior night, the Patriots took the floor and dominated the first period with a 23-6 shellacking of the Ravens.
In the first meeting between the two teams at the Ravens Nest the Patriots won by 10 points in a hard fought battle. However, as Coach Preston Davis has consistently shown in his high school coaching career by studying the film on his opponent, making the necessary adjustments and prepare his team to execute the game plan to perfection is a winning formula. This mission was accomplished when the Patriots were the state champions two years ago, 30-1 defeating the Ravens all four times by larger margins. Then adding a deep run into the state tournament last season trying to repeat to only be upset by Ardrey Kell in overtime.
This is a different Patriot team, not as loaded as the previous two clubs, but they have enough talent and a solid bench that could potentially give them another deep run into the state tournament. They remain in first place in the conference at 11-2 and will travel to Myers Park 10-3 to take on the Mustangs for another epic battle between two local area titans.
In the first frame, coach started his top seniors who showed their appreciation by simply running the Ravens off the court on a 13-0 run. With just 1:56 remaining Indy had a 21-2 advantage before the Ravens “Duke” Thomas drilled a 3-pointer with under a minute remaining. Junior Omarion Bodrick at 6’7″ started off fast with an electrifying slam that ignited the Indy faithful. Lee Harrington, quickly added a basket on a nifty spin shake and bake move. Then the flood gates opened as the “Big O” had his second slam dunk and Indy just sank shots to roll up the score.
In the second period, the Ravens bounced back and outscored Indy 12-11, however, not enough to make a serious impact. In fact, Indy shot poorly missing some easy scoring opportunities under the basket on chippies that should have extended their commanding lead.
Meanwhile, sophomore Jalen Hinton started to find the range and swished three jumpers for the Patriots. The “Big O” picked up his third blocked shot of the game, with the last one on the “Duke” attempting a jumper inside the paint that was soundly rejected to the delight of the home crowd just prior to the buzzer.
In the third period, with the score 34-18 Indy, the Ravens Stephon Richards drilled a 3-pointer, but senior Nygell Verdier quickly responded for Indy for two points. Then senior guard Anthony Allen followed up with a 10 foot jumper and swished a 3-pointer putting the Patriots up 43-23 with 4:12 remaining. The “Big O” on a fast break made the easy layup instead of the slam on a nice feed from Allen. After Richards scored on a 3 point play on a nice layup and free throw, Indy guard Divine Allah netted a 3-pointer from the corner giving Indy a 48-28 advantage with 2:11 remaining.
In the remaining 2:00 minutes Indy opened up their lead to 54-30 when the “Big O” had his third slam of the game, and Hinton swished his second 3-pointer. The third period ended when Allen drilled another 3-pointer with under 20 seconds on the scoreboard clock giving the Patriots a 57-32 edge.
In the final frame, Indy dominated again outscoring the Ravens 20-16. The “Big O” scored the first two baskets putting the Patriots up 61-32. Then the Ravens answered with two 3-pointers. Now with the score 65-41 on an Allen reverse layup, the “Duke” hit a short jumper and a 3-pointer to get the Ravens to 68-46 with 2:44 remaining in the game. However, the Indy guards just dominated the rest of the way, with Allah, Hinton and Landon King all nailing 3-pointers giving the Patriots an outstanding victory over a local rival.