MINT HILL, NC – The Independence High School basketball team was initially down 2-0 in the first minute of the basketball game when Jaden Lyles scored the first points of the contest. However, from this moment forward the Patriots never looked back.
Independence took over the first period and finished with a comfortable 5 point edge 14-9. Tosh Alberga just dominated the first period scoring 12 points and grabbing multiple rebounds at both ends of the court while playing solid defense for the home team. Teammate Kolbe Johnson added 4 points in the opening period.
In the second period, Indy outscored the Ravens 20-10 with more excellent play by Alberga who appeared to be on a mission scoring 6 points with continued aggressiveness under the boards and challenging both Lyles and Henry Price on the visitors defensively. Meanwhile, Kameron Jasper stepped up and drilled two 3-pointers, Josh Iseah filled in nicely when Johnson got himself into foul trouble. The third team football all-state standout scored 4 points and had another basket taken off the scoreboard on a traveling violation. He is a big strong fixture, a powerful force in the middle, and has no problem mixing it up under the boards. Lyles scored 6 points for the Ravens to keep them in the basketball game. However, at the intermission Indy extended their lead to 15 points 34-19.
In the third period, Indy increased their advantage by 19 points over the Ravens outscoring them 14-10. The Patriots Zion Bosley-Slade led the charge by hitting a 12 foot jump shot, and then followed up with two consecutive 3-pointers when the Ravens appeared to make a short-lived run trying to get back into contention for a second-half comeback. Meanwhile, Jayden Ross landed two 3-pointers for Rocky River to try keeping pace with the running fast-paced Patriots. Indy now had a 48-29 lead on the visitors.
In the final period, Indy slowed the tempo down, passed the ball around using all four corners of the court to their advantage while working the scoreboard clock. This put a lot of pressure on the Ravens who were desperately trying to make their own run, but they fell far short as the teams exchanged baskets. Kamal Brantley did swish a 3-pointer, but Indy’s Yancy Thomason promptly drilled a 3-pointer of his own to negate any momentum felt on the Ravens side of the court.
In the end, the bottom line, the Patriots played a solid game, executed when they had too, and were the better team, period. The Ravens who have talented players just do not appear to be playing as a unit or team. The Independence defense did a great job in applying a defensive game plan to stop Jaden Lyles who averages 19.4 points per game to just 12 points. They did the same to Jordon Nevill of East Mecklenburg, holding him to 13 points recently in a huge conference upset victory.
Coach Preston Davis and the coaching staff seem to have this squad focused on teamwork, playing solid defense, showing a willingness to mix it up under the boards, and play smart basketball. It’s making a difference, and they will be tested against Butler and Charlotte Catholic their next two conference opponents.