Gallery by Greg Barnett
Gardner – Independence happily made 13 3-pointers Wednesday night in Gardner.
The down side is it made three fewer 2-point field goals.
The Patriots shot just 37 percent from the field against PikeView falling to the Panthers 77-63 at PikeView High School.
The Panthers in comparison shot 49 percent (26 of 53) from the field in the win, clicking at the right time. After falling behind 14-9 in the opening frame, the Panthers blitzed Indy with a 20-2 run across the end of the first and beginning of the second quarter that gave them the cushion they needed to fend off the visitors who received a 35 point-effort from sophomore Sylas Nelson.
“We made one little adjustment to our half-court trap,” PikeView head coach Les Farmer said. “And I felt like that kind of sped them up and got them running off the 3-point line a little bit. And then it helped us in transition. We got out and ran the floor well and got some easy buckets.”
PikeView opened the scoring with one of its six 3-pointer on the night with Nelson answering on the other end with his first of nine treys on the evening. Another Nelson 3 later pushed the advantage to 8-5 in favor of Indy so he tried his luck again and converted to make it 11-7 after a Jared Vestal layup.
A three-point play courtesy of Dalton Williams gave Indy its largest lead of the night at 14-9 but the offense hit neutral afterwards and stayed there until late in the second quarter.
A pair of Austin Bennett free throws gave the Panthers their first advantage since Bryson Bailey’s opening trey. The snow ball kept rolling when Chad King converted on a layup to make it 19-16 in favor of the hosts after a frame.
Then came the second quarter.
Bennett opened the frame by converting from deep and King followed with a layup to make it 24-16.
The snowball kept rolling until it got to 29-16 in favor of the Panthers, capping the 20-2 run.
It took until the 3:38 mark for Reid Warden to break the skid and get the Patriots on the board with a three-point play. Seeing the ball go through the net was apparently all the guests needed as Warden’s play sparked an 11-2 run that got Indy back to within four points at 31-27 following an Ashton Arthur 3.
But the Panthers stopped the bleeding with a 9-0 run that featured a Bailey 3 and six straight points from Drew Damewood to make it 40-27 at the break.
“The second quarter was a struggle,” Indy head coach Shawn Jenkins said. “We had nine turnovers just in the second quarter. So it’s hard to maintain or stay where you need to be when you turn the ball over nine times. But then in the second half, we only turned it over like four times. So we were able to make a run couple of runs but we had spent so much effort trying to get that run that we run out of gas and that happens when you’re down sometimes. But I’m super proud of them man. I really thought overall, it’s probably one of the best games we played all year. Our effort was really good just tonight, you know, and that’s what kept us in the game. I preach that 75 percent of the time if you play hard you probably come out with a W just simply because you play harder than the other team.”
The Panthers led by 15 after the third quarter but three consecutive 3s from Nelson in the first two minutes of the final frame closed the gap to six.
Unfortunately for the visitors PikeView excelled at the charity stripe down the stretch, converting on 12 of 14 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and 19 of 24 (79 percent) for the game. It more than made up for the 2 for 8 performance from the field in the final eight minutes.
“That’s big, I mean we definitely had some struggles with free throw shooting at the beginning of the season,” Farmer said. “We had Oak Hill here and we didn’t make free throws around the stretch and still got the win but to finish our game like that right there, you got to hit your free throws down the stretch. We knew they were going to start fouling there at the end and ended up knocking them down.”
Despite the loss Nelson was stellar for the Patriots, nailing nine 3s on 15 attempts and finishing 12 of 21 (57 percent) from the field.
“He got hot there man and he couldn’t miss but you know we forget a lot sometimes when we’re watching it that we’re playing two sophomores and a freshman,” Jenkins said. “They’re getting big time experience and that’s important for our basketball program and Sylas, he did it last year as a freshman. He had several big games in double figure games so we expect him to do that. It may be a surprise to others, but it wasn’t very surprising to me. I expect him to play like that.”
Vestal and Damewood led PikeView with 18 points each in the win. Ashton Arthur was the only other Patriot in double figures with 11 points.
I: 16 11 18 18 – 63
PV: 19 21 20 17 – 77
Ethan Williams 3, Sylas Nelson 35, Ashton Arthur 11, Degan Williams 2, Dalton Williams 3, Reid Warden 9
Austin Bennett 12, Chad King 4, Drew Damewood 18, Elijah Hall 3, Bryson Bailey 9, David Thomas 9, Jared Vestal 18, Zach Rose 4