BE READY- Reserve guard Jaden Howard hit five 3-pointers on Wednesday, January 24 to help lift Independence to a 64-61 victory over Varnado. File photo by Matthew Roy.
By Jesse Brooks
The Independence Tigers have made a case for being the best boys basketball program in Tangipahoa Parish by compiling a 16-2 overall record going into the final week of the the regular season. The Tigers now have the opportunity to seal up the District 9-2A Championship with if they defeat Amite a second time Tuesday night.
Leading the charge for Independence is senior forward Melvin Baker who has scored 20 or more points in eight consecutive games, and has done the same feat in 11 out of the last 12 games.
In addition to Baker’s consistent scoring, the Tigers are finding lift from members of the supporting cast. In a home game against Varnado on Wednesday, January 24, Baker scored 20 points to lead the Tigers. However, the the lift to earn a 64-61 victory came from reserve guard Jaden Howard who hit five shots beyond the arc for a total of 15 points.
On Friday, January 26, the Tiger defeated district opponent Northlake Christian for a second time with a final score of 58-30. Baker led all scorers with 24 points and junior guard DeAngelo Gaines also contributed 22 points.
Despite falling to Amite 44-35 in the Tangipahoa Parish Tournament in December, the Tigers held off a second half rally to defeat the Warriors 59-50 in their gym, on January 12 to solidify a district lead. Winning a second matchup would mean that the Tigers lock up the district title. Even if Independence were to lose their final regular season game to Pine (0-5 district), they would hold a tie-breaker over Amite.