Independence Edges Cienega

The Independence Patriots defeated the Cienega Bobcats 58-53 in a 4A State Tourney first round playoff game this evening at Indy.

The Independence Patriots defeated the Cienega Bobcats 58-53 in a 4A State Tourney first round playoff game this evening at Indy.

Indy established a superior transition game in the 1st period and led 15-14 at the end of the first.

In the 2nd period, Indy showed their muscle.  The Patriot's stout forward Devin McPeak at only 5'10," punished the taller Bobcats inside.

Cienega tried a 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone to control the tempo.  It was successful in spite of their inability to convert second shots on the offensive glass.  The half ended 28-27 in favor of Indy.

The 3rd period continued to highlight Indy's physical prowess. However, foul trouble started to prevail. At 4:30, Indy's high scoring guard Francisco Ayala picked up his 4th foul.  The Bobcats had several players in trouble, namely big men Dan DeJong and Adam Womack; both would eventually foul out.

Maurice Wells a 6'4" forward, kept Cienega in the game with his powerful work on the boards and his inside scoring ability (12 pts.).

Independence went up by a few points, but the Bobcats would battle back.  The 3rd period ended tied at 43.

In the 4th, at the 7:00 minute mark Bobcat point guard Desi Abeyta severely sprained his ankle and had to leave the game.  At that point it was still
tied at 43.

Indy's Ayala promptly nailed a 3-pointer and the momentum started to shift toward the Patriots.

The game was close down the stretch, but not really.  With Cienega's big men out of the game with fouls, Indy had their way inside.

Ayala (12 pts.) hit another trey at 2:45 to put Indy up 53-47.

But then the Patriot's got sloppy at the free throw line and Cienega converted at the other end to close the gap to 56-53 with 10 seconds remaining.

McPeak, like he did all game long, converted 2 FT's with 8 seconds left to provide the final margin of victory for Independence, 58-53.  McPeak finished with a game high 16 points.

$$$ Indy's Enoch Christian scored 16 too, almost silent but deadly points, while teammate Xavier Newbill added 13.  Both players hit critical buckets but they came during quiet times of the game.  It's hard to explain, but the game had a funny tempo without much emotion.  This was due to the very small crowd in attendance. There really wasn't a home court advantage as Indy's fans were few and far between.

$$$ Independence is a very dangerous team and could give Saguaro, McClintock, and anyone else fits.  The Pat's lost recently by only 4 points to highly ranked Greenway.

$$$ Xavier Newbill is a surprise package in that he's not been promoted much on the message boards.  He's a strong guard who has a nice stroke and good handles.  Why has he been so invisible?

$$$ I was intending to go to the Millennium/Chinle game instead and arrived at the Millennium parking lot at 6:10 pm.  The lot was getting full and as I glanced toward the ticket office my eyes confirmed what my instincts told me earlier.  There was a line in front of the ticket office at least 150 yards long and 4-5 wide full of Reservation fans.

I wondered if I'd get in the doors at all and resorted to my backup plan of the game just covered.

My-oh-my do those Rez fans love their team!

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