In a game where 14th seed Independence (21-8) drained buzzer0beaters to end two quarters, the Patriots could not get a third one to fall, losing to 11th seed Southwest Guilford (27-2) 66-65 in the sectional round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs Saturday night.
Throughout the 48 minutes, the largest point deficit between the two squads was six points. And with 25 seconds left and the game tied at 65, Southwest Guilford’s Ty Radford drove to the basket when the refs whistled Independence’s Casey Allen with a shooting foul. Radford made one of two free throws, giving the Cowboys a one-point lead. But after Independence in-bounded the ball, Kobe Langely ripped it away from Matthew Stattile, causing the Patriots to intentionally foul.
Langley missed both free throws, giving Independence life with one second left. But Radford’s floating inbound pass to 6-10 center Justyn Hamilton fell just short of his grasp, causing the gym to erupt with applause and sending the Patriots on an hour drive back to Charlotte wondering what could have been.
“It’s a lot of little things that we could have done,” Independence head coach Preston Davis said. “But at the end of the day, the kids competed and I am extremely proud of what we have done this year. “
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Marcus Thomas was the leading scorer for the Patriots with 22 points. Stattile followed with 16, including three three-pointers and Hamilton had 11.