Independence steals win at Centennial
By Austin Stanley, For the Williamson Herald
The Independence Eagles came into a hostile environment against a tough district opponent in the Centennial Cougars Friday night. The Eagles were able to withstand a comeback attempt and left with a 67-61 victory.
Midway through the month of January, Independence coach Greg Glass knows how difficult wins on the road can be in this district.
“I’ve said all along that there are no easy games in this district and anytime we can get a win on the road, that’s a big win,” Glass said. “We played pretty good at times and we found a way to get it done and that’s all that matters.”
Independence (13-6, 2-1) went into halftime with a comfortable 35-22 lead with 12 first half points from junior guard Vic Wharton. Wharton, who is already committed to play football at the University of Tennessee, controlled the first half by converting layups and drawing fouls to get to the free throw line.
The Cougars (11-9, 0-4) used the third quarter to cut the lead just enough to get themselves in striking distance to make a run in the fourth quarter. Star forward Matt Pond scored eight in the third to spark the run and got the home crowd involved.
The guard play on the Independence side kept the Cougars from having a chance to complete a run at the lead. Trenton Perry led the Eagles with 21 points - 16 coming in the second half. Perry knocked down three big jumpers, including a 3-pointer, that silenced the home crowd.
Along with Perry, 20 points from Wharton and 10 from Cam Miller, the three starting guards for Independence combined for 51 points on the night. Guard play for the Eagles has driven their team all season.
“That’s kind of the M.O. for us all year,” Glass said. “We try to keep the floor spread, utilize our quickness to our advantage. (The guards) do a good job of keeping their dribble alive and getting to the hole. And they also do a very good job of sharing the ball.”
The Cougars’ full court press in the closing minutes made it difficult for Independence to keep possession. The crowd didn’t help either. All aspects of home court advantage rattled the Eagles in the final minutes.
“They’re playing at home,” Glass said. “This is their home court so they want to defend it and they’re going to come hard at us. We just have to do a better job of breaking the press.”
Pond, for Centennial, again led his team with a gutsy performance leading all scorers with 26 points. Every gym Pond plays in, he continues to get respect for the way he plays and competes.
“He knocked down some tough shots and they were tough, contested shots,” Glass said. “As a defender that’s all you can do, really without fouling, is stay close, contest and hope that he misses.”
Posted on: 1/18/2013