Tuesday was a good time to be on top of the Southwestern 4A basketball standings.
Unbeaten Myers Park High clinched the girls top seed at next weeks tournament with a 77-37 win against Independence while the Patriots boys did the same with a 71-56 victory against the Mustangs.
Myers Parks girls (23-0, 13-0) never trailed and had 10 players break into the scoring column, paced by guard Aliyah Mazyck with 23 points. Saadia Timpton followed with 16 and Rydeiah Rogers pumped in 11.
We just want to play hard all the time, and I felt like today was one of the first times for 32 minutes we just played hard, Mustangs coach Barbara Nelson said. I think the kids wanted us to have something positive to say today.
There were plenty of positives for Myers Park, which made quick work of the Patriots, bolting to a 31-2 lead after one quarter behind Mazycks 11 points and Timptons eight. Both had 14 points at halftime, and the Mustangs held a comfortable 46-9 advantage. Defensively, Myers Park limited Independences (3-17, 3-10) possessions and disrupted the Patriots attempts to establish rhythm outside of Laquisha Taylor, who scored 20 points in the second half.
I thought we played hard and I thought we were very focused, Nelson said. We knew what we wanted to do tonight and we looked like we knew what we wanted to do. We shared the ball really well and I thought we got on the boards.
Independence (18-5, 11-2), which won two games last year, continued its breakout boys season by pulling away from Myers Park (10-13, 6-7), which is battling Rocky River for the fourth seed and a postseason berth. The Patriots, who clinched the top spot with Rocky Rivers 44-41 win against Ardrey Kell, led 13-12 at the end of the first quarter, then exploded for a 26-11 run in the second to grab the momentum for keeps. It feels great, just to see the kids success coming their way because they work so hard, Patriots coach Preston Davis said.
Four Independence players scored in double figures, paced by Jeffery Dennis game-high 16 points and followed by Deion Lanes 15 and 11 each from Workpeh Kofa and Marcus Graves.
Once Independence asserted dominance, the Patriots were never seriously threatened as the defense kept Myers Park off balance while jump-starting Independences transition attack. When the Patriots settled into their half-court offense, they mixed drives to the basket with clutch perimeter shooting to stay in front.
I told them prior to the game were not going to hide (anything), Davis said. Were trying to win the conference title outright and Myers Park is playing for a playoff spot, so we knew they were going to play aggressive.
Three Myers Park players hit double-digit scoring, led by Zaquan Matthews with 15 points and Clayton Masseys 12. Jake Hackworth added 10 for the Mustangs, who close at Rocky River.