Patriots roll past Garinger in first round

Tyler Harris for an easy lay-up. (Ron Morris)
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Pats Miles Pauldin fights for a rebound. (Ron Morris).

On Tuesday afternoon at Myers Park High School, the number one seed Independence Patriots and the number eight seed Garinger Wildcats played the opening game in the 2018-2019 Southwestern 4A Conference basketball tournament.

Indy controlled the opening tip but turned the ball over to the Wildcats.  It was soon evident that Garinger was going to play a deliberate slow down game and burn time off the clock.

At the 5:06 mark, Indy coach Preston Davis called for his defense to pick up the pressure which caused a turnover that resulted in a Miles Pauldin basket.  Indy’s defense created another turnover at 4:07, and Tyler Harris was fouled as he drove to the basket.  Harris connected on one of his two shots for a 3-0 lead.  On Harris’ second shot, Pauldin grabbed the rebound and was fouled.  Pauldin made both of his free throws and Indy was out to a 5-0 lead.

The Wildcats were still content holding the ball, and at the 3:29 mark A J McKee created a turnover and passed to Raja Milton for the layup to make the score 7-0.

Garinger scored its first goal at the 3:12 mark hitting a baseline 3-pointer.  However, Raja Milton answered with a baseline 3-pointer of his own, and a Pauldin basket gave Indy a 12-3 first period lead.

With two of Indy’s regular players sitting out this game with injuries and having to play back-to-back games this week, Coach Davis took the occasion to rest many of his players.  Coach Davis started substituting early in the second period and cleared his bench before halftime.

Early in the second period Tachai Miller and AJ McKee forced another Garinger turnover with McKee hitting the easy layup making the score 15-3.

With 4:50 showing on the clock Nygell Verdier came in and hit three back to back 3-pointers.  With baskets by Tachai Miller and Jaelyn Lewis, Indy took a 34-7 halftime lead.

In the third quarter Coach Davis kept substituting his players and watched his team add 25 points to its total.  The third period was also Garinger’s most productive as the Wildcats posted 12 points to make the score 59-19.

At the start of the fourth period, Indy’s forty point lead activated the continuous running of the game clock.  With the clock running without interruption, the Patriots scored nine more points while Garinger added six points to its total.

The Patriots took the first round victory 68-25 and will advance to the semi-final round against the Hickory Ridge Ragin’ Bulls who defeated Rocky River 67-60.  Sophomore Brandon Cherry led the Patriots with 11 points,  Tyler Harris 10, Nygell Vardier 10, Miles Pauldin 9, Raja Milton 9, AJ McKee 6, Jaelyn Lewis 5, Amonti Burton 3, Tachai Miller 2, Camren Little 2, Matt Smith 1.

Garinger    3  4  12  6  –  25    Independence  12  22  25  9  –  68

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