Independence coach Greg Glass found himself in a familiar situation after his team’s 75-69 win on the road at district rival Franklin.
Just four days earlier, Independence (14-6, 3-1) squeaked out a win at Centennial after a sizable halftime lead. With its 14-point halftime lead at Franklin (12-8, 2-3) cut to 57-50 to begin the fourth quarter, Glass was reminded how tough this district is.
“There are no easy games in this district,” Glass said. “Good teams in this district are going to make runs to get themselves back in the game. Good thing for us we held our composure.”
Franklin used a 14-7 run to tie the game at 64 with 2:16 remaining in the game. In a wild finish, from then on there were a combined 21 free throw attempts. Independence went 7-13 and Franklin 5-8.
The difference in Tuesday night and Friday night for the Eagles was handling the full court press.
“In practice we went five against seven just to get our mindset back into attacking the press,” Glass said. “We are a veteran team. We have eight seniors (on the roster) and two juniors in the starting lineup. We were able to hold our composure and close it out at the end.”
The Eagles raced to a 14-point lead in the first half thanks to their fast-pace, quick-strike offense led by guards Vic Wharton and Cam Miller. Even after Franklin baskets, Independence was attacking before the Rebels were back down the floor.
“That’s how we play,” Glass said. “We basically are a team of guards and we have to play at a fast pace. We don’t want to play at a half court setting. I thought in the third quarter we kind of slowed down a little bit.”
Franklin made an adjustment to slow down the flying Eagles with a change from man defense to a zone.
“Typically when a team goes to a zone they try to slow (us) down a little bit,” Glass said. “We were able to get some good looks out of (the zone), we missed a couple of easy shots, but they made a good adjustment to get themselves back into the game.”
Independence had four players reach double figures in scoring. Wharton led with 23 and fellow starters Miller and Deion Sims had 18 and 10 respectively. Lucas Luttrell provided 10 points off the bench.
The Rebels were led in scoring by wing Garrison Mathews with 20 points and big-man Ben Hagamen with 17.
The Lady Eagles continue to roll with their 53-33 win over the Franklin. The Independence girls have two straight road wins of 20 points or more.
Indy (13-7, 3-1) held a 31-16 halftime lead and used a 10-0 run to close the third quarter to end any hopes of a Lady Rebel comeback. Do-it-all point guard Laina Buche, for Independence filled up the stat sheet with rebounds, assists and blocked shots along with her nine points.
Post player Hannah Winters led the Lady Eagles with 13 points with five during the third quarter run that put the game away. JT Twaddle and Katie Pierce chipped in with eight points each for Independence.
Jodi Hall led Franklin (9-11, 2-3) with 12 points including two 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter.