On Tuesday night the defending 4A state champions opened their basketball season against the Hopewell Titans in a game played at Independence High School.
Indy got things started after the Titans missed a shot, and Indy’s fast paced offense came away with the rebound. Following a quick outlet pass, Indy’s Tyler Harris scored for the 2-0 lead. Hopewell answered with a field goal, and a 3-pointer by Kendyl Lloyd put the Titans up 5-2.
With 5:30 remaining in the quarter, Matt Smith cut the lead to one. Then Indy went on a little run. AJ McKee drove down the lane and put Indy back in the lead 6-5 with 4:46 left in the first period. Raja Melton came up with a loose ball and went the length of the floor to make the score 8-5. Less than a minute later Milton scored again making the score 10-5 with 3:14 left in the first quarter. At the 2:50 mark AJ McKee hit a short jumper moving indy out to a 12-5 lead forcing a time out by Hopewell.
After the time out, Indy’s AJ McKee stole the inbounds pass and drove to the basket. KcKee went in for the dunk and was fouled hard by Kendyle Lloyd. McKee made one of his two free throws putting Indy up 13-5 with 2:37 remaining in the first period.
Trailing by eight Hopewell went on a little run of their own. The Titans started by hitting a 3-pointer and then cut the score to two on another 3-pointer with 1:54 remaining prompting Coach Davis to call a timeout.
After the timeout, Indy hit two quick baskets with a two pointer by Raja Milton and a 3-pointer by Anthony Allen making the score 18-11. However, the Titans came back with a 3-pointer of their own cutting the score to four points. With 33 seconds remaining Anthony Allen got the ball to Matt Smith for the dunk making the score 20-14. Hopewell ended the quarter with a field goal to make the score 20-16 going into the second quarter.
The second quarter opened with Matt Smith grabbing a rebound and a basket putting Indy up by eight. At the other end of the court, Hopewell turned the ball over, and Indy made the basket to take a ten point lead. With 4:15 remaining, Anthony Allen hit a 3-pointer moving Indy up 29-17. On Indy’s next possession Raja Milton hit a 3-pointer making the score 32-17. With 3:26 left in the half, Indy came down with the rebound and got the ball down the floor to Raja Melton who executed a picture perfect alley-oop pass to Omarion Bodrice for the dunk making the score 34-17.
Indy moved out to a 44-20 lead before Hopewell hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left in the half. With the Titan 3-pointer the first half ended with Indy up 44-23.
In the third quarter Indy jumped out to a 52-25 lead on baskets by Omarion Bodrice, Raja Milton and AJ Mckee. As time was running out, Anthony Allen’s 3-pointer was off the rim, but Omarion Bodrice made the tip in as the horn sounded giving the Patriots a 58-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
As the final period got started, Indy’s Anthony Allen picked up a loose ball, scored and was fouled. Allen made the old fashion 3 point play to make the score 51-27 with 7:26 left in the game. Jarlyn Lewis got on the board with a rebound and a put back with 5:20 remaining.
Coach Davis cleared his bench as his Patriots took a 70-39 victory on opening night.
After the game coach Davis said, “I thought we had some good moments this early in the season. We’ve got some things to work on, but playing at home the energy the guys showed it early in the game, the intensity. I’m glad to get the first one under our belt.”
“We need to do a little work on defense. The guys played with a lot of energy and that made up for some of the mistakes. With the addition of some new guys, we are still working on our chemistry. We are excited and going forward each game.”
Raja Milton led the Patriots with 17 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. AJ McKee added 12 points. Anthony Allen had 9. Matt Smith and Omarion Bodrice had 8 points each. Jaelyn Lewis added 6. Amonti Burton 4, Natalyah Wilson 3, and Tyler Harris had 2 points.
Hopewell 16 7 4 12 – 39
Independence 20 24 14 12 – 70