The Independence Patriots just dominated the Butler Bulldogs from the opening tip-off to the final seconds of the basketball game.
The rebounding strength under the boards, the boxing out of their opponent shown by power forward Matt Smith, Miles Pauldin, Tyler Harris, and Omarion Boderick really took control throughout the contest.
Meanwhile, the backcourt guards of Andra McKee, Raja Milton and Anthony Allen kept up a fast paced tempo, the Bulldogs could not keep up with their quickness and overall defensive effort by all five players on the court.
Coach Davis emphasis is on defense and shutting his opponent down. He has good offensive players who can score points and expects this team to get more than their fair share of scoring opportunities. However, the defense creates turnovers and fast breaks that simply wear down their opponent over the course of the game.
This philosophy and strategy has been successful as it brought a state title to Mint Hill in 2017-18, and has the Patriots at 10-3 overall playing a tough schedule outside the conference and they are now 5-0 in the Southwest 4-A Conference.
After the first period the Patriots lead 12-5, they started out with a 6-0 run before Butler scored their initial basket. In the second period, the Patriots held Butler down to 8 points, therefore, taking a 23-13 lead at the halftime intermission.
In the second half, Independence came out ready to dominate and they did. They outscored Butler 29-17 on an aggressive defense that created fast breaks for the Patriots athletic guards who made some easy lay-ups off of steals. Under the boards it became chippy, however, the athleticism of Matt Smith, and strength of his teammates showed as they powered their way to victory.
Senior Matt Smith had a double-double scoring 16 points and 10 rebounds, guard Andra McKee had 11 points, Raja Mckee 8 points, Tyler Harris 7 points for the Patriots. While Butler’s senior leader Raquan Brown was held to 9 points by a stingy defense.
After the game, Independence coach Preston Davis, mentioned how pleased he was of his teams effort, and the way they played against a respected competitor. “Our defense was outstanding, I’m proud of how we played tonight,” said coach Davis.
The Patriots will have an away conference game at Garinger on Friday night. They should add two more conference wins under their belt by this week on the hardwood. This is a little different team than last year’s championship club, however, they are a very solid team with good depth, and fully expect this group to continue being successful throughout the season.