Edwards' 28 points and Harris' double-double lift Independence past No. 11 Moberly Area
By Jay Henry
November 16, 2018
SEDALIA, Mo. - After playing for over a week at home and continuously improving, the Independence Pirates looked to continue the trend Friday against the #11 Moberly Greyhounds in the State Fair Classic. The game was a battle all night that went down to wire, but perseverance and determination yielded Independence to victory, 87-86.
The Pirates had multiple players in double figures, being led by Ricky Edwards with 28 points, Tonje Durham with 18 points, Anquaevious Pollard with 15 points and 10 points each from Kofi Maze and Jibril Harris. Harris also grabbed 10 rebounds on the night for a double-double.
"I thought we played great tonight and stuck together as a team," coach Tony Turner said. "We played well, held our composure and controlled the whole tempo of the game." "Tomorrow we'll need a big performance from our bench and for guys to step up and help us bring home another victory."
In the first half, the Greyhounds drew first blood with a bank shot from Tahj Small and extended the lead to 4-0 after a dunk from Sean Miller-Morre. Independence got on the board after two free throws from Jibril Harris to cut the lead down to two.
Miscommunication caused a scoring drought for both teams, but a three-point foul on Ricky Edwards caused the guard to make two out of three to tie it the game at 4-4. Tonje Durham made three of his free throws to match a layup by Alonzo Verge to tie the game again and after one free throw was made Durham made a long jumper to give Independence its first lead at 10-6 at the 15:30 mark.
The Pirates pushed the lead to seven after a three-pointer by Edwards at 13-6 and the teams were at a stalemate for some time, but free throws from small cut the lead to five before Anquaevious Pollard pushed the lead back to seven with a pair of his own.
Pollard received a quick dump off down low and banked a shot in off the glass to push the score to 17-8 and the miscommunication habits appeared again with several turnovers by both squads before a free throw by Kofi Maze broke the silence, but was only to be followed by a shot Verge and one more from Raekwon Drake making it an eight point lead for Independence.
Moberly continued to chip into the lead after a pair of shots from the line by Verge and got even closer as Verge sunk a long shot making the score 18-15, but free throws by Harris pushed the lead back to five at the 8:20 mark.
A layup by Harris stretched the lead to seven and after a steal from Alex Torres, Edwards made a shot to make it 24-15 for the Pirates. Miller-Moore sunk a three-pointer cutting the lead to six followed by a free throw making the score 24-19 at the 6:30 mark.
"Picking up the pace down low to help my team has really made an impact this season," said Harris. "Tomorrow, if we play the way we did in the first half tonight and iron out the small details and continue to get better we'll come out on top again."
A 3-0 run by the Greyhounds cut the lead to three and Verge made a three-pointer for the lead, but the Pirates would get it right back at 27-25 after a long range shot by Edwards. Moberly made it close with a layup by Markelo Sullivan, but Independence answered as Pollard baked a shot off the glass to push the lead back to three.
The Greyhounds retook the lead after a 4-0 run, but Harris delivered down low for the Pirates just before Sullivan made a three-pointer to switch the lead back in favor of Moberly at the 3:10 mark. A 5-1 Pirates' run was enough for the lead after a layup by Maze and free throws by the guard made the score 39-35 at the 1:20 mark with Independence leading. Edwards torched the net from downtown taking the lead to seven for Independence and Moberly responded with a free throw making the score at halftime 42-36 in favor of the Pirates.
"It feels great right now, but we don't want to settle," said Edwards. "You never want to live in the moment, but always continue building for what's ahead." "Tomorrow, we'll treat the opponent the same as we did the opponent tonight and continue to grow as a unit throughout the season."
In the second half, Independence continued to shoot well outside with another three from Ricky Edwards and then followed with a short jumper by Sean Pollack to go up 47-36. After much confusion on several in bounds attempts, Pollack would make one shot from the line, but Will Rucker made a shot to cut into the lead before Edwards broke away for a layup.
Rucker and Harris exchanged layups for their teams to push the score to 52-42 with 16:00 remaining, but the action didn't stop there as Miller-Moore layup was answered by Durham on the other end to keep the lead at 10 points.
A three-pointer by Verge cut the lead down to seven before free throws were made by Durham and another by Mamady Djikine to push the lead out to 11 points, but anther long range shot by Verge made the score 57-49 with 13:52 remaining.
A 6-5 run by Moberly cut the score to 62-55 after a three-pointer by Small, but back to back buckets from Pollard had the Pirates up by 11 points again with 12:32 remaining. The Greyhounds responded on a 7-0 run cutting the lead to four, but Edwards once again buried a three-pointer for a 69-62 Independence lead.
Moberly free throws were answered by a short floater from Durham, but Verge responded with a bucket and a free throw cutting the score to 71-67 with 8:23 remaining. Free throws by the Pirates pushed the lead back to six and Independence looked to extend the lead, but turnovers led to a long three from Miller-Moore cutting the score to 73-70 with 6:51 remaining.
Free throws by both teams took the score to 75-71 and Miller-Moore put a shot in to cut the lead down to two right before a breakaway layup by Small tied the game at 75-75 with 4:38 left to play. The Pirates responded on a 3-0 run after a low post delivery to Pollard for a 78-75 lead.
Free throws by Durham pushed the lead to five, but Sullivan buried a three for Moberly to cut the score to 80-78 with 2:19 remaining. The Greyhounds took a one-point lead after another three by Sullivan who broke away again for a three-point lead, but Edwards quickly buried at three-pointer tying the game at 83-83.
Moberly free throws were answered with a layup by Edwards to tie the game at 85-85 and seconds later Edwards gave Independence an 87-85 lead with 9 seconds left. The Greyhounds made one free throw and got a turnover on the inbounds, but the ball was knocked away and the Pirates escaped with a narrow victory in celebration.
Independence (4-3) returns to the State Fair Classic tomorrow night to take on the State Fair Roadrunners for a 7:30 tipoff.