Lady Patriots defeat Olympic 60-46 in opening round of state playoffs

Averie DiBenedetto scoring on a fast break. (Ed Berti)
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Trinity Thompson with a layup. (Ed Berti)
Gracie Breckenridge shooting a free throw in 1st period. (Ed Berti)
Braylyn Milton shooting a 3-pointer. (Ed Berti)
Coach Lauren Galvani during timeout. (Ed Berti)

The Lady Patriots from Independence High School who are the #16 seed in the state championship tournament defeated #17 seed Olympic with a huge second period to break open a highly competitive basketball game.

In the first period, Indy took a 17-13 advantage in a fast-paced action start to the game. The initial Indy points were scored by standout Braylyn Milton on a strong baseline move to the basket for a layup. Then Indy’s scrappy Laura Flynn hit a 3-point jumper, she found the range and followed with another 3-pointer, and a 2-point jump shot inside the paint. With Averie DiBenedetto hustling all over the court causing havoc to disrupt the Trojans offense, Azuria Barrino hit a short jumper to give Indy a four-point lead ending the period.

In the second frame, Indy dominated outscoring the Trojans 17-3 to take a 34-17 edge. DiBenedetto opened up the scoring drilling a 3-pointer, Trinity Thompson on a fast break and excellent feed from DiBendetto scored on a layup, while Braylyn Milton contributed 7 points in the period entering intermission with 9 points feeling good about the second half along with her teammates.

In the third period, Braylyn Milton along with the combination of Thompson and Gracie Breckenridge outscored their opponent 17-13 to expand upon an already comfortable lead. By the end of the third frame, Indy had increased their advantage to 22 points primarily on the back of hot shooting Milton who scored 8 points in the period. Breckenridge scored 6 points and Thompson added 3 to lead the Patriots charge.

In the final stanza, Milton swished a 3-pointer followed by a two-point jumper by Ayanna Anderson to maintain a 56-34 advantage with 5:26 remaining on the scoreboard clock. However, Indy suddenly could not hit a shot in four consecutive possessions until a baseline drive by Alex Barrino. The Trojans were able to cut the lead to 18 points. But with the score at 58-40, with 1:42 remaining Breckenridge grabbed a rebound and instead of making an outlet pass, she drove directly to the hoop to bank in a shot off the backboard giving Indy a 60-42 commanding lead as the clock was running out on the Trojans putting this game in the history books.

This was the Lady Patriots first state playoff win in over a decade, and coach Lauren Galvani enjoyed her first victory in a state playoff as Indy’s head coach. Indy has a challenge Thursday night as they travel to play #1 seed Mallard Creek in the second round. The Patriots are a good basketball team, they are playing well, a major upset is possible.

Braylyn Milton led all scorers with 21 points, DiBenedetto 8, Breckenridge 8, Flynn 8, and Thompson 6 for the Patriots.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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