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Prep Basketball Sectional: Davie boys lose lead, game to Independence

By Brian Pitts

sports@salisburypost.com
MINT HILL – For a little more than three quarters, the Davie boys looked poised, confident and unflappable on the road in a sectional semifinal against Independence. With an 11-point lead and less than seven minutes remaining, Davie had a golden opportunity to advance and face league rival Mt. Tabor for the fourth time.
But disaster struck.

The Patriots (24-5) ripped off 33 points in the final 5:52 to storm back and shock Davie 76-66.
“Even on the road, we played good enough to win until coming down the stretch,” Davie coach Mike Absher said. “We took a 30 (second timeout) and tried to nip it real quick. They made some tough shots in the fourth quarter. So I give them credit for that.”
Independence point guard Tayon Gleaves was a man on a mission in the fourth, triggering a 12-0 run with two 3-pointers. Gleaves’ backcourt sidekick, Marcus Graves, also became unstoppable with Indy’s back against the wall, scoring 17 of his 21 points in the final seven minutes as Indy turned a 53-42 deficit into a 70-57 lead.
“People sometimes don’t believe that we can win certain games, and we surprise a lot of people,” Indy coach Preston Davis said. “A lot of it is because of our recent history. But this team stayed focussed, they stayed together, and good things happen when you do that.”
The War Eagles were terrific in the first quarter, hitting nine of 13 shots to take a 21-15 lead. They took a 32-29 lead into halftime, and an 11-0 run early in the third vaulted them to a 43-31 cushion. Davie had a 49-42 lead after three quarters.
“They were fastbreaking on us, and they were getting easy buckets,” Gleaves said. “And we weren’t playing tough defense like we normally do.”
Cody Martin’s move in the lane off a feed from Austin Hatfield provided the 53-42 Davie lead with six and a half minutes to play.
But then Davie fell apart, and Indy could do no wrong. Gleaves (22 points) and Graves (21) hit three 3s in a span of 90 seconds to turn Davie’s 53-43 lead into a 53-52 dogfight. Graves’ steal and layup gave Indy a 54-53 edge, its first lead since 3-2.
“When you look at my stats, I’m not much of a 3-point shooter,” Gleaves said after hitting five triples. “But I felt like I could make them, and luckily they were falling for me.”
The Patriots went on a 17-1 run, then extended the run to 22-2, by which time Davie faced a 62-55 deficit with 2:22 to go. It was all but over.
“I want to keep them grounded, but my kids are very confident,” Davis said. “Our stats don’t reflect good 3-point shooters, but we have kids who are very capable of making big shots – and you saw that tonight.”
While Indy, the regular season and tournament champion in the Southwestern Conference, won its 10th straight, Davie closed at 21-6. All five Davie starters are juniors, so it will be a force again in 2013-14.
“It doesn’t make you feel any better right now,” Absher said. “It’s tough anytime you’ve got to take your stuff up for the last time.”

DAVIE (66) —A. Hatfield 17, Cody Martin 15, T. Hatfield 13, Caleb Martin 11, Tatum 8, Banner 2, Sell, Carney, Colamarino, Bennett.
INDEPENDENCE (76) — Gleaevs 22, Graves 21, Lane 12, Kofa 10, Dennis 5, Blair 4.

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