CHARLOTTE — Independence High guard Jordan Mobley is a pretty reliable 3-point shooter as the senior is good from behind the line 41 percent of the time.
On Feb. 27 with a trip to the Class 4A Final Four on the line, Mobley was 100 percent when it counted most.
Mobley hit four-straight 3-point attempts in the fourth quarter as Indy turned a three-point lead into an 11-point advantage and the Patriots went on to defeat Charlotte Olympic 59-52 in a fourth-round playoff game.
Independence (29-1) will face Southwestern 4A Conference rival Rocky River in the West Regional Final on March 3 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. Rocky River (23-6) defeated Butler 68-65 to advance to the Class 4A Final 4. Independence is seeking its first state championship since 1997.
“I’m happy and thrilled for the kids because they have worked hard,” said Independence coach Preston Davis, who was on the 1997 Indy state championship team. “We are locked in right now and we are just trying to take it one game at a time. All of the hard work is paying off.”
The Patriots have won 20-straight games and defeated Rocky River twice – 75-74 on the road in January and 90-73 last month at home – during conference play.
“We have been tested, but the more times you play a team during the season the harder it gets, ” Davis said. “We are confident that we can have success against them, but it is going to be a dogfight. Every step you take to get to the state finals gets harder and harder. Everybody is going to give us their best shot.”
Mobley finished with a team-high 17 points but his 3-point barrage in the final five minutes of the game sunk the Trojans. Mobley’s first 3-pointer gave Indy a 41-35 lead and the senior then hit three-straight 3-pointers in a span of 1 minute, 3 seconds that pushed the Patriots lead to 50-39 with three minutes left in the game.
Indy then hit free throws down the stretch and a dunk by Patriots junior Matt Smith sealed the deal.
Mobley, who averages 8.4 points a game, scored 15 points in the second half and was 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Mobley is 66-of-162 from 3-point range on the year.
“That kid (Mobley) has been in our program for four years and that kid has worked his tail off,” Davis said. “He has always stayed focused on getting better. Jordan is a threat on the court and you have to know where he is at. Great kid and he had to wait his turn a little bit.”
Jamarius Burton was also in double figures for Indy with 12 points. Smith added 11 points while Raja Milton finished with 10 points for the Patriots.
Milton gave the Patriots a spark heading into the final period when the senior turned a steal and layup into a three-point play that gave the Patriots a 34-32 lead going to the final eight minutes.
“We got a great turnover,” Davis said. “Basketball is a game of runs and we made our run there in the fourth and I am happy with the results.”
Class 4A Western Regional Final
Independence High vs. Rocky River
Where: LJVM Coliseum, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem
When: March 3, 4 p.m.