Pirates Survive And Advance To Region Quarterfinals
February 27, 2019
INDEPENDENCE, Kan. - With the stage set, the Independence Pirates began postseason play at home hosting the Garden City BroncBusters in the first round of the Region VI Tournament. The night was full of action and big shots, but the Pirates fought through and survived, 71-66.
"This win was very important for our team, fans and our college," coach Tony Turner said. "We had a rocky end to the season, but we came out and played hard to get the job done."
"On Sunday, we face off with Seward County and they've got a lot of physicality and mental toughness in their program, so we'll have to play just as hard and not let them rattle us."
In the first half, Independence opened with two free throws from Tonje Durham for the early lead before a three-pointer by RJ Pair put the Busters up by one and a basket from Cheikh Kebe had Garden City leading 5-2 at the 16:55 mark.
Another three for Pair pushed the lead to six before a trip to the line by Jibril Harris, but pair again answered with a three pushing the lead to eight. A three from Ricky Edwards cut the lead to five before another basket for the sophomore followed by a free throw, but a basket from Jamir Thomas made the score 13-9 at the 13:45 mark.
Another three from Edwards cut the lead down to one before back to back threes from Russhard Cruickshank and a bucket from Tony Hopkins, but a bucket from Tyreece Berry ended a scoring drought cutting the lead down to seven.
A three for Harris brought the Pirates within four before another bucket by Harris and a three from Durham got it down to one, but a bucket from Pair pushed it to two. A three by Kori Guest gave the Pirates a one-point lead before two trips to the line for Anquaevious Pollard pushed the lead to four and a three by Harris made the score 31-24 at the 2:26 mark. Another bucket for Harris and a layup for Pollard pushed the lead out to eleven before a tip in by Guest and the Pirates led 37-24 at the break.
"Winning tonight was very important considering we've lost some key games leading up to this," said Harris. "I think that we have our momentum back to make a run in the tournament."
The second half began with a layup for Harris before a trip to the line for Cruickshank and basket from Thomas followed by a score from Daishaun Woods cut the lead to nine and Cruickshank continued with another score making it 39-32 before a layup for Tyler Williams with 15:30 remaining.
A three for Kebe pushed the lead to six before a layup from Durham, but Kebe responded with a put back off the glass. A trip to the line for Pollard pushed the lead to seven before a three from Guest got it out to ten but a three-point play for Thomas made it 47-40 with 10:45 remaining.
Free throws for Pollard pushed the lead to nine before a basket from Harris and a three for Edwards had Independence leading by fourteen before a 5-0 Garden City run. Another three for Guest had the Pirates leading by twelve points before a 4-0 Busters run, but a basket for Harris made it 59-48 with 6:20 remaining.
Scores by Thomas and Tralynn Spencer cut the lead to seven before another three by Harris, but RJ Pair delivered a floater to keep the Busters within striking distance. A trip to the line for Edwards got the lead back to ten before Cruickshank pulled off a three-point play and Pair made a shot to make it 64-59 with 2:10 remaining.
A basket by Edwards gave Independence a seven-point lead before a three by Pair, but free throws for Berry put the lead to six before a basket by Cruickshank. Another trip to the line for Berry gave the Pirates a six-point lead before a foul shot by Edwards and two shots for Cruickshank got the score to a five-point lead and that was it as the Pirates advanced.
Independence (15-15, 10-11) advances to the Region VI Tournament Quarterfinals Sunday facing the #13 Seward County Saints with tipoff set for 1 pm.