MATTHEWS – Independence High guard Andra’ McKee had an off night shooting the basketball on Jan. 8.
McKee missed his first three shots and finished shooting just 3-of-11 from the field but the senior delivered when the Patriots needed it most.
McKee hit back-to-back baskets in a tight game late in the first half to start a 15-0 run that spanned into the second half as Independence defeated arch-rival Butler High 52-30 in a Southwestern 4A Conference game.
Indy (9-3 overall, 4-0 Southwestern 4A) led 12-5 at the end of the first quarter but Butler’s Raquan Brown capped a 6-0 run with a basket that cut the Patriots’ lead to 14-13. Indy then called McKee’s number twice and the senior delivered a 3-pointer and a layup that pushed the Indy lead to 21-13. Indy senior Tyler Harris added a slam dunk in the waning seconds of the first half for a 23-13 lead and the Patriots opened the second half with a 8-0 run to pull away for the victory.
Despite missing his first three shots, McKee knew he would eventually find his rhythm.
“My team ran a play where we moved the ball and got me open in the corner for an open three,” McKee said. “We ran the same play, but this time, I saw the defender was closing out too far. That is when I attacked the rim. We just ran from there.”
Senior Matt Smith paced Indy with a double-double, scoring 16 points after hitting 7-of-10 shots from the field and grabbing 10 rebounds. McKee, who made 4-of-6 free throw attempts, finished with 11 points, five rebounds and one blocked shot. Raja Milton and Harris finished with eight and seven points, respectively. Indy was 9-of-12 from the free throw line.
But it was the defense that Indy head coach Preston Davis was most impressed with. Butler entered the matchup averaging 70 points a game but the Patriots held the Bulldogs to under double digits in every period.
“The guys stayed locked in the whole game, and I am proud of the effort,” Davis said. “My guys know that I can live with some mistakes on the offensive end, but defensively, we have to have it every night. There are going to be games where we might struggle to score some. But if you take your defense with you, you have a chance to win every basketball game.
“We preach defense and I am a stickler for it. The guys buy into it, and when they do and we are locked in, we look pretty good.”
Brown finished with nine points for Butler (9-4, 2-2) while Brayden Dixon finished with six points.
Butler defeats Independence in girls game
Butler jumped out to a 20-point lead at the end of the first period and the Bulldogs never looked back in defeating the Patriots 86-30.
Butler (12-1, 4-0) led 46-20 at halftime, and they held a 50-point lead late in the third period against the Patriots (6-8, 2-2).
The win sets up a huge showdown for Butler at Hickory Ridge on Jan. 11, as both teams will enter the game with 4-0 conference records.
Micahla Funderburk led four Butler players in double figures with 18 points. Payton Sutton added 16 points for the Bulldogs while Hailey Nance and Michela Lane added 13 and 11 points, respectively. In all, nine Butler players found the scoring column.
Sharonda Smith finished with 13 points for Indy. Ayanne Anderson added 10.