MINT HILL, NC – The Independence basketball team defeated a tenacious Providence Panthers bunch who applied some serious pressure on the Patriots in the final minutes of the contest. This game was an important matchup for both teams as they approach the final standings and seeds in the upcoming 4A Conference 59 playoff tournament.
The Patriots are now 13-8 overall, and 5-4 in their conference. The Panthers are 7-13 overall, and 3-6 in the conference. The teams split their regular season games both winning on their home court. The win may solidify Indy’s fourth seed in the tournament, but they have a big game coming up on Friday night against East Mecklenburg who will be hosting the Patriots. The final two regular season games have Rocky River on the road, and Butler at home next week.
This contest was a low-scoring affair as both teams play each other head-to-head evenly and focus on a strong defensive effort to determine the final outcome. These two teams are not offensive juggernauts, and rely upon a total team effort that includes a combination of rebounding, limiting turnovers, transition baskets, free throws, situational 3-pointers along with solid defense.
In the opening period defense was the key for both teams. The period ended with the Patriots up 11-8 in a low scoring affair. Tosh Alberga Indy’s big man had 3 points, 1 block, and Yancy Thomason scored 4 points primarily driving to the basket inside the paint. Alberga did a good job holding his own under the boards as the battle raged around the hoop with the Panthers David Howell and Zion Foreman.
The second period was owned by Alberga for the Patriots. He scored 6 points and blocked 3 shots frustrating the Panthers while Indy outscored their opponent 12-10 taking a slim 23-18 lead into the intermission. Thomason and Kameron Jasper combined for 6 points in the period making a nice contribution.
In the third period, the teams continued to push the ball up the court, but relied primarily upon their defense to gain an advantage. Alberga added 2 more blocks to his total, and the Patriots had five players score a bucket which was a good sign that someone might get a hot hand. Meanwhile, with Alberga being an intimidating force down the driving lanes and baseline blocking shots, it forced the Panthers to rely more on their 3-point shooters Chase Detenber and Jamel Van Rensalier. However, they did not connect in the period from the 3-point range. When the buzzer sounded Indy maintained a 5-point advantage with both teams scoring 11 points with Indy leading 34-29.
In the final period the battle continued under the boards. Alberga blocked two more shots, playing outstanding defense. The Panthers forced a few key turnovers which led to points, Detenber drilled a 3-pointer, followed by Van Rensalier getting Providence to within one point of Indy trimming the lead to 41-40 with 56 seconds remaining. Kameron Jasper was fouled with 34.5 seconds on the scoreboard clock, he swished both free throws putting Indy up 43-40. The Panthers push the ball upcourt and finally locate Detenber open on the baseline for a 3-pointer, he shoots the ball goes down halfway, but pops out. Thomason grabs the rebound and rushes to get past mid-court, he is intentionally fouled with 11 seconds left, he makes the front end of a 1-1 to give Indy a 44-40 lead. The game ends as Detenber takes a desperation 3-point shot bouncing off the rim as the game clock runs out on the Panthers.
Alberga led all scorers with 15 points, along with 8 blocks, Thomason 14, Kameron Jasper 6, Zion Bosley-Slade 5, Kaleb Jasper 2, Ayden Davis 2 for the Patriots. While Clayton Gaither had 9, Detenber 6, Van Renslaier 6, Zack Wondracek 6, Howell 6, Foreman 4, and Tyguan Singletary 3 for the Panthers.