The Independence men’s varsity basketball team suffered its fourth loss of the season Saturday afternoon falling to Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans in a 61-50 defeat at the 14th annual Peachtree Corners Invitational played at Norcross High School in Norcross, Georgia.
The Patriots opened the game on a 7-0 run. Matt Smith got the offense going on an old fashion 3-point play, followed by an AJ McKee jumper from the right elbow to make the score 5-0. A few seconds later McKee drained two free throws putting the Patriots up 7-0 with 5:12 left in the first period.
The Spartans got on the board at the 3:46 mark after Indy’s Matt Smith pulled down a defensive rebound and started down the floor. As Matt approached mid-court, he was knocked to the floor with no call from the officials. A Spartan player picked up the loose ball and scored the basket to make the score 7-2. A Spartans’ 3-pointer at the 1:05 mark tied the score at eleven. After a Patriot turnover, the Spartans took the lead 13-11 with 52.9 seconds remaining in the quarter. However, Indy’s AJ McKee knocked down a 3-point basket as the horn sounded giving the Patriots a 14-13 lead heading into the second quarter.
Indy opened the second period much like the first with a 6-0 run. AJ McKee went to the charity stripe and made two free throws. Tyler Harris grabbed an offensive rebound and got the put back basket. With the Patriots forcing a turnover, AJ drove down the lane for the basket giving Indy a 20-13 lead with 6:13 remaining in the first half. Indy moved out to a ten point lead, 27-17 on a Raja Milton steal. After creating the turnover, Milton got the ball to AJ McKee running down the left side of the floor. AJ made the pass to Tyler Harris in the lane for the basket putting the Patriots up by ten points with 3:11 left in the first half.
The first half ended with the Spartans cutting Indy’s lead to eight points with 41 seconds left, but Tyler Harris hit a jump shot with 15 seconds showing on the clock to put Indy back up by ten. Not to be out done the Spartans hit a jumper as the horn sounded cutting the deficit to eight 31-23.
The Spartans started the second half with a long 3-pointer to cut Indy’s lead to five points. Indy moved back out to a ten point lead on a Matt Smith 3-point play and a Tyler Harris jump shot. However, the Spartans fought back and cut Indy’s lead to three 39-36 as the third period ended.The final period started with Indy’s Miles Pauldin hitting a free throw to give the Patriots a four point lead 40-36. But at the 6:14 mark the Spartans hit a 3-point basket from the top of the key that cut the score to one point 40-39. With 5:45 left in the game, the Spartans took the lead 42-40 on a baseline 3-pointer, and the Spartans never trailed again. The Spartans moved out to a ten point lead 51-41 with 3:18 remaining in the game. Indy never gave up and fought back cutting the lead to seven on a Tyler Harris 3-point play and a basket by AJ McKee cut the score to five 53-48 with 1:42 showing on the clock.
As the time ran down the Spartans were satisfied to hold the ball causing the Patriots to start fouling. The Spartans were deadly from the charity stripe and pulled away to take a 61-50 victory over the Patriots.AJ McKee led Independence with 15 points while Tyler Harris added 14 points, and Matt Smith had 12 points and seven rebounds.
GACHS 13 10 13 25 – 61
Independence 14 17 8 11 – 50