Independence routs East Mecklenburg 82-50

Indy’s Matt Smith lays the ball up for two points.(Ron Morris)
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Independence men’s basketball team moved to 2-0 in Southwestern 4A Conference play with a 82-50 home win over the East Mecklenburg Eagles on December 18th.

The Patriots never trailed in Tuesday night’s game.  The Patriots opened the game with a Matt Smith drive to the basket and a Tyler Harris 3-pointer.  East Meck pulled within three at 5-2 but never came any closer.  Tyler Harris’ eight first quarter points led the Patriots to a 17-6 first quarter lead.

Thirty seconds into the second period Omarion Bodrice started an Indy 7-0 run with a basket in the lane.  Nygell Verdier added two more and Anthony Allen drained a 3-pointer to make the score 24-6 with 6:39 left in the first half.  East Meck made a couple of 3-pointers cutting the score to 25-12.  With 5:05 showing on the clock AJ McKee drove to the basket, but his shot came off the rim.  Matt Smith followed the play and grabbed the rebound for the two handed dunk.  Anthony Allen and AJ McKee hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make the score 33-12.  After an Eagle basket, Omarion Bodrice made a foul shot and scored on the next possession making the score 36-14 with a minute fifty-five to play.  The Patriots got careless as the first half was coming to an end.  In the final eight seconds Indy gave up a field goal and then turned the ball over on an inbounds pass giving the Eagles four quick points to Coach Davis’ disapproval as Indy took an 36-18 halftime lead.

Tyler Harris (22) goes for a basket in Tuesday’s home win. (Ron Morris)

At the start of the second half, the Indy fan base became a little unnerved  as Matt Smith went down after driving to the basket for a layup.  Matt was holding his ankle as he laid on the floor.  After being down for a few minutes, Indy’s athletic trainer Julie Burton got Matt to his feet and took him straight to the training room.  After receiving treatment, Matt returned to the bench.

Miles Pauldin scored eight of Indy’s sixteen third quarter points as the Patriots headed into the final period leading 52-36.

Indy started the final eight minutes with Anthony Allen making a steal in the first thirty seconds and scoring the basket.  At the 6:57 mark Anthony made another steal and connected with Matt Smith for a baseline 3-pointer to make the score 57-36.  After that play, it was obvious that Matt’s ankle was very tender and he took himself out of the game.

The Patriots continued their four quarter rout with AJ McKee draining a jumper from the top of the key, 59-38, with 6:21 remaining.  Anthony Allen took the ball down the lane to move Indy out to a 61-38 lead.  After an East Meck basket, 61-40, the Patriots committed another inbounds turnover for an easy Eagle basket to make the score 61-42.

On Indy’s next possession, AJ McKee drove down the middle of the lane and made a fierce one-handed dunk that shook the backboard.  Indy was up 63-42.

In the next two minutes and six seconds Indy poured in 13 points.  Anthony Allen made two free throws, Omarion Bodrice connected on a short jumper.  Tyler Harris scored on a layup.  Raja Milton scored on a steal and a layup.  Allen on a take away passed to Milton who passed to Bodrice for the lay up.  The run ended with an Omarion Bodrice’s dunk and foul to make the score 76-47.  After Bodrice’s free throw, Coach Davis called a time out and cleared his bench.

The Patriots went on to take an 82-50 conference win over the visiting Eagles.

Coach Davis said, “I definitely love the energy we have.  Although we had too many turnovers, we just kept playing.  They played aggressive.  They played with a purpose.  So all in all I’m pretty pleased with the outcome,  but we just have to get better.”

Omarion Bodrice puts up a high floating shot.(Ron Morris)

I talked with the Coach about the upcoming tournament in Columbia, South Carolina and asked him about their first opponent.  “We got our hands full.  We got Roman Catholic out of Philadelphia.  They are nationally ranked.  Some polls have them as high as sixth. They just had a huge win over another nationally ranked team Imhotep Charter.  They got talent and we are excited for the opportunity to play them.  We feel like we have a good team and a good program.  We are looking forward to the opportunity to compete and represent Charlotte and North Carolina.”

I also asked the Coach about Jaelyn Lewis’ injury and about Matt Smith’s ankle.  “Jaelyn took a hard fall last game and aggravated his knee.  We held him out for precautionary reasons.  I think he will be ready by next week.   Matt came down and landed on someone’s foot and rolled his ankle.  He has already talked with our athletic trainer Julie Burton. He’s going home to rest the ankle.  He’ll be coming in for some treatment for the next couple of days.  He should be fine.  We’ll see how it goes.  Guys have got to be ready to step up when injuries happen.”

AJ McKee led the Patriots with 15 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists and 1 steal.  Anthony Allen, Tyler Harris, and Omarion Bodrick had 12 points each.  Anthony had 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals.  Tyler pulled down 5 rebounds, had 2 assists, and 3 steals.  Omarion had 3 rebounds, and 1 steal.  Matt Smith added 9 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.  Miles Pauldin scored 8 points, led the Patriots with 7 rebounds, and had 3 steals.  Raja Milton and Nygell Verdier had 4 points each.  Raja had 6 assists and 2 steals.  Nygell finished the night with 1 rebound and 1 assist.  Amonti Burton, Tachai Miller, and Khalid Grissett added 2 points each.  Amonti had 4 rebounds. Tachai grabbed 4 boards and Khalid pulled down 3 rebounds.

The Patriots improved to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play.

East Mecklenburg    6  12  18  14  –  50

Independence        17  19  16  30  –  82

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