The basics: Independent held off Trinity despite not scoring a fourth-quarter basket until 53 seconds remained. In that time, Trinity cut an eight-point lead to three and was effective with a full-court press until Independent broke it for a pair of layups.
“That’s when we’re good,” Independent coach Bernie Pearson said of being sped up late by Trinity’s pressure.
Fast starters: Independent scored the first seven points and the first four of the second half, all by Chris Taylor. After Taylor missed a shot and committed a foul on the rebound attempt, he made a steal and scored to put the Panthers ahead 27-19.
After Trinity scored the next five points, Independent didn’t lead by more than six until briefly at the end of the third quarter. Eight was also its biggest first-half lead.
Zone breaker: Taylor was effective driving against Trinity’s 1-3-1 defense, which is how he scored many of his team-high 14 points. He dribbled through double teams and around Trinity’s post players and also moved without the ball, occasionally setting up near the free throw line, waiting for an entry pass, then getting to the basket.
Bench stars: Luke Boline made a three-pointer for Independent in the final seconds of the third to put the Panthers ahead 39-31. Those were Boline’s only points of the game.
Fellow reserve Tanner Smith scored five points, all in the second half. His three-point play stretched a four-point lead to 34-27 late in the third. Smith scored on a putback after one of Independent’s eight offensive rebounds.
What they said: “I take a lot of pride into it – the offense runs through me,” Taylor said. “But we’ve got good players, so they take some of the pressure off because they can create for themselves.”
What it means: Independent wins for the third straight time and fourth time in five games while improving to 13-6 before Tuesday’s season finale at Medicine Lodge. Trinity closes the season at home against Bluestem.
Trinity Academy – Thornton 9, Counts 2, Newport 1, Prohaska 14, Johnson 3, List 10.
Independent – Chandler 3, Eikleberry 9, Sevier 4, Taylor 14, Boline 3, Gaphardt 3, Brzon 2, Smith 5, Ma 2.