The Independence High School Patriots and their crosstown rivals the Rocky River Ravens are both preparing for the first of potentially two expected showdowns in an important Southwestern 4A Conference contest on Tuesday night January 9th, 7:30 PM at the Ravens Nest.
The Patriots who have an overall record of 13-1 and are undefeated in the conference 5-0 will go head to head with the 11-3 Ravens who are 4-1 in the conference. The Patriots defeated Butler 78-70, and the Bulldogs handed the Ravens their only conference defeat 77-72.
To further make this match-up so intriguing is the Patriots are currently ranked 69th nationally and 5th in the state, while the Ravens are ranked 424th nationally and 20th in the state. Both teams have outstanding players with the Patriots led by their dynamic four Matt Smith, Jamarius Burton, Andra Mckee and Raja Milton. While the Ravens have the top 2020 class player in the state the talented Jaden Springer, along with Darlinstone Dubar, Jordan Campbell and Marcus Evans to counter the Patriots top four.
The team leaders match up competitively as well when we go by the numbers. Independence scoring leader Andra McKee is averaging 15.6 points per game, Matt Smith leads in rebounds 10.4 per game and 2.2 blocks, Jamarius Burton leads with 4.7 assists per game, and Raja Milton with 3.7 steals per game which clearly exhibits the excellent balance of the Patriots. While the Ravens Jaden Springer leads in four categories scoring 25.0 points per game, 8.9 rebounds, 2.6 steals and 2.2 blocks, with Jordan Campbell being the assists leader with 3.4 per game.
When digging deeper into the metrics Independence has the edge in all major key indicators with the exception of scoring where Rocky River has accumulated 1,128 points to Independence 975. However, defensively the Patriots have given up 655 points while the Ravens 906 points so far on the season. Therefore, the Patriots have the edge defensively and the Ravens offensively especially with Springer.
Defensively the Patriots have shown they can shut down teams when they need too. Especially when Matt Smith and sixth man Miles Pauldin are under the boards along with Jamarius Burton a 6’5″ back court player who can rebound. Their guards are quick and both Andra McKee, Raja Milton along with Jordan Mobley can apply a lot of pressure on teams during transition.
The Ravens Springer, Campbell, Dubar and Evans will have to make adjustments and still play their very aggressive game and score points. Campbell a specialist in 3 point shots and likes to penetrate up the middle will be challenged by the Patriots active defense.
This game has all the makings of a classic top level high school basketball game and we fully expect a loud and enthusiastic crowd on hand from both campuses.