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Charlotte Observer Sweet 16 boys basketball countdown: Independence Patriots

Four of Independence High’s key players: From Left to Right: Matthew Statile, Justyn Hamilton, Victor Tshiona and Chea Johnson.
Four of Independence High’s key players: From Left to Right: Matthew Statile, Justyn Hamilton, Victor Tshiona and Chea Johnson.

Note: the Observer is revealing teams in its preseason Sweet 16 poll, but not the order. The order will be revealed in Sunday’s print editions

INDEPENDENCE PATRIOTS

Head Coach: Preston Davis (8th year)

Coaching Career Record: 84-100

2015-16 Record: 21-8 (10-2 in Southwestern 4A conference)

Returning Starters: Justyn Hamilton, Sr., F/C (6-10); Matthew Statile, Sr., SG (6-3); Chea Johnson, Sr., PG (6-0); Victor Tshiona, Sr., F (6-5).

Key Newcomers: Andra McKee, So., G (6-3); Raja Milton, So., G (6-0).

Outlook: The Patriots are loaded with experience and talent as four starters are back led by 6-foot-10 center, Justyn Hamilton (10 ppg, 8 rpg, 5 bpg/Temple commit) on a team that can challenge for a SW4A title and make a deep playoff run. Losing Berry transfer, 6-foot-5, Jamarius Burton (ACL), was a tough loss before the season even started.

--JAY EDWARDS

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