Independence boys continue impressive start

The Independence boys had dropped two consecutive games – to nationally ranked West Charlotte and talented Vance – but bounced back in a big way on Dec. 18 with a 61-46 win over East Mecklenburg.

Independence junior Marcus Graves (right) prepares to score against East Mecklenburg in the Patriots’ 61-46 win on Dec. 18.

With the score tied entering the fourth quarter, the Patriots used their halfcourt trap defense to pull away with a 19-6 final period.

“We’re a running team and love to push it down the court,” junior guard Tayon Gleaves said. “We use our defense to start our offense.”

The Patriots are led by four juniors, including guards Marcus Graves (13 points per game, 4.4 assists), Workpeh Kofa (7.9 points, 4.3 rebounds) and Gleaves (16 points, 3.4 assists), and forward
Deion Lane (13.7 points, 6.9 rebounds). They’ve helped transform the Patriots from a two-win team last season into one of the Southwestern 4A conference’s most dangerous squads.

“We’re believing that every possession for us is important and we can’t take plays off,” Independence coach Preston Davis said. “I think they’re buying into that mentality. In our timeouts (against East Meck), they were saying ‘Hey, we aren’t going to lose this game.’

“They are focused but it’s a still a growing process. I’m proud of their effort and it’s starting to pay off. I’m happy for the kids that they’re starting to see results.”

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