Southwest Guilford 67, Charlotte Independence 64
The second round of the NCHSAA 4A State playoffs pitted the Southwest Guilford Cowboys against the Patriots of Independence High School. These two heavy weights had an intense battle in the 3rd round of last year’s playoffs with the Cowboys edging the Patriots.
Independence defeated the Patriots of Pinecrest at home in the opening round 59-34. The Cowboys blew out the Blue Devils of Mooresville 88-38 in the opening round to set up tonight’s match-up.
Independence wasted no time getting the lead at 2-0 quickly. The teams traded baskets from there until it was tied at 4-4 at the 5:42 mark. The Patriots used a quick 4-0 spurt to take their largest lead at 8-4 at the 5:10 mark. On the ensuing trip the Cowboys got a three pointer to make it 8-7. A defensive stop and score by Southwest allowed them to reclaim the lead at 9-8 at the 4:00 mark. Another basket twenty seconds later took it to 11-8, but the Patriots responded strongly with a three pointer of their own to tie the game at 11 apiece at 3:20 to go. From there Southwest managed a 6-0 spurt to take it to 17-11. Yet again the Patriots wouldn’t back down and responded with another deep ball to cut it to 17-14 with 1:25 to play. The Cowboys got another basket to make it 19-14, but like clock work the Patriots dialed it up from downtown to make it 19-17 with 37 seconds to go. Right back up the floor the Cowboys were able to hit a three pointer of their own which closed the scoring on the opening frame with Southwest holding a slim lead at 22-17.
The second quarter had Independence once again get on the board first with a 3 pointer cutting the margin to 22-20. From there the Cowboys used a 7-0 run which was capped off by a ferocious dunk in transition by Kobe Langley that made it 29-20 at the 5:51 mark. A made free-throw by the Patriots stopped the run, but another Southwest 3 pointer made it 32-21 at the 3:53 mark. Independence didn’t drive all the way from Charlotte to lay down, and kept fighting and clawing. A late 3 pointer by the visitors made the halftime tally at 38-30.
Just like last year’s postseason battle between these two schools, this second half was building up to be intense. The Patriots opened up the half on a 5-0 run to make it 38-35 at the 6:05 mark. The scoring for the frame slowed extremely as both sides began to play tough, physical defense. Every time the Cowboys would get the lead back to 6, the Patriots would respond. The Cowboys managed to be holding a 50-44 mark following a basket with 48 seconds to go in the frame. The visiting Patriots utilized a strong 5-0 spurt to set up the final stanza at 50-49.
The final eight minutes were to be an intense and physical war. It was the Cowboys this time who wasted no time to score with a quick and efficient offensive set for a 3 pointer making it 53-49 at the 7:45 mark. From there the play on both sides slowed and became more methodical and slightly sloppy. The Patriots weathered the storm a little better and cut the game to 53-52 at the 6:57 mark. Independence wasn’t done there, and even reclaimed the lead for the first time since the first half at 54-53 at the 6:20 mark. The next Cowboys possession didn’t end with a basket, but a steal on the defensive side lead to a tough old fashion 3 point play by Keyshaun Langley which gave the lead back to Southwest at 56-54 with 6:00 to go. Neither team was able to put the ball in the basket because of solid team defenses until the Cowboys manged to force another turnover and convert on the other end to make it 58-54 with 4:30 to play. The Patriots kept battling and made it 58-56 with 3:57 to go. Southwest wasn’t able to respond initially with free-throws, but got yet another solid defensive stop and then made the freebies to make it 60-56 with 2:42 to play. Yet again, the Patriots proved their grit and valor by responding to make it 60-58 at the 2:30 mark. The Cowboys only made the front end to make it 61-58 at the 2:16 mark. The Cowboys yet again forced a bad possession by the visitors and converted another free-throw to make it 62-58 with 1:22 to go. The Patriots came down and looked for an answer but the swarming Cowboys managed to cover up all the holes and forced a contested shot that was off the mark. Two made free-throws took the tally to 64-58 with 46 seconds to play. After an initial miss, the Patriots were able to gather the rebound and sink a deep three pointer to make it 64-61 at the 41 second mark. The speedy Cowboys were able to milk ten seconds off the clock before the Patriots could catch up and foul them. Another calmly swished pair of free-throws by Sophomore Kobe Langley made it 66-61 with 31 seconds to play. Independence refused to go away quietly and pushed the ball up quickly and got a three-point play to make the last seconds as dramatic as possible with it reading 66-64 with 9.2 to go. This time the Cowboys were fouled with 7.2 to go, and missed the front end of the double bonus. Kobe Langley calmly regrouped and hit the important back end of the bonus which made it 67-64. The Patriots weaved through pressure and pulled a deep contested jumper that bounced hard of the back iron which ended the night for the Patriots and advanced the Cowboys to the Sweet 16.
The Patriots were led by Matthew Statile with 12 points. The Cowboys once again got great contributions both in and out of the box score from the roster. Leading scorers were: Kameron Langley with (22, 4 Rebs, 4 Stls, and 3 Asts), Keyshaun Langley with (17, 5 Rebs, 4 Asts, 4 Stls), and Kobe Langley who was 7-8 from the charity stripe in the 4th quarter, with (12, 3 Rebs, 3 Stls, 2 Asts). Southwest moves on and will host the winner of Page and Lake Norman on Saturday night.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final Independence 17 13 19 15 64 Southwest 22 16 12 17 67
Matthew Smith 5
Robert Bonar 8
Chea Johnson 10
Victor Tshiona 10
Jordan Mobley 11
Justyn Hamilton 4
Andra’ Mckee 4
Matthew Statile 12
Keyshaun Langley 17
Dezmond Woods 9, 5 Critical Rebounds
Kobe Langley 12
Christian Martin 2, 7 Rebs
Ty Radford Ast
Jalen Snipes 2
Kameron Langley 22
Cooper Cunningham 3, 4 Rebs, 3 Asts
Brandon Lamberth 2 Rebs
Courtesy of SWG Cowboys assistant coach Greg Vlazny