Forget about the home-court advantage in this series. After losing a one-point heart-breaker at home to Butler in their first regular-season meeting, the Independence Patriots extracted their revenge with a 79-73 win Monday on the Bulldogs’ home floor.
The victory was the Patriots’ sixth in a row and 10th in their past 11, also allowing Independence to claim the Southwestern 4A regular-season title for the second season in a row.
“Obviously it’s a rival and anytime you have a rivalry you’re going to be ready to play,” said Independence coach Preston Davis. “Both teams gave a great effort tonight and I’m proud of my guys for pulling it out.”
Deion Lane led the Patriots with 24 points, including 17 in the second half. Tayon Gleaves knocked down 20 points and Herbert Bowen Jr. had 17.
Giavonni Mack led Butler (16-6, 9-3) and all scorers with 28 points, followed by Raequan Scott with 19. Butler’s leading scorer, Matthew Fisher-Davis, finished with 11.
The game was nip and tuck most of the way, but the Patriots (15-9, 11-1) were better down the stretch. Bowen Jr. and Gleaves scored 14 of the Patriots’ final 16 points. Midway through the final quarter with Independence ahead 64-62, Bowen Jr. reeled off seven straight points to give the Patriots a 71-62 advantage.
“We played team ball, we played hard defense and played together,” said Bowen Jr.
Independence will be the No. 1 seed in the Southwestern 4A tournament, which for the Patriots will begin Wednesday at Garinger. If Independence can win the conference tournament, it would be the first time for the Patriots to win both the regular-season and tournament titles in back-to-back seasons.
Independence (15-9): Deion Lane 24, Tayon Gleaves 20, Herbert Bowen Jr. 17, Marcus Thomas 12, Kofa 5, Bailey 1.
Butler (16-6): Giavonni Mack 28, Raequan Scott 19, Matthew Fisher-Davis 11, Gibbs 7, Stowe 2, Labinowicz 2, Robinson 2, Hill 2.