DISTRICT CHAMPS- The Amite Warriors top Independence 54-30 in the championship round of the District 9-2A Tournament. Photo by Matthew Roy.
By Jesse Brooks
On Wednesday, February 8, the Amite boys basketball team earned the title of District 9-2A Champions after defeating rival Independence 54-30 in the final round of the district tournament. The Warriors now stand at 16-10 overall going into the LHSAA 2A playoffs.
Warrior center Tyrus Wheat led all scorers with 18 points and looked nearly unstoppable as a threat in the paint. Wheat was especially dominant in the third quarter when going on a 10-4 scoring run with Tigers himself and boosting the Warriors’ lead up to 37-18 with 2:09 left to go in the period.
Amite Coach Ronald Cox’s game plan appeared to mirror the one he used in the last meeting between the two teams as their swarming defense was responsible for positives in transition scoring.
Warriors guard Dereon Edwards. Photo by Matthew Roy.
Defense was present early on as the Tigers held a slight 6-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter, but Warriors guard Dereon Edwards flashed a sign of things to come by nailing a 3-pointer inside of 12 seconds on the clock to end the first period.
In the second quarter, junior forward Devonta Lee scored on back-to-back transition layups and a jumper from the elbow to jumpstart a 15-4 Warrior run that resulted in their 21-10 halftime lead. Lee ended his night with a total of 14 points.
Warrior forward Devonta Lee. Photo by Matthew Roy.
De’Angelo Gaines and Genrod Perry both knocked down 3-pointers for the Tigers in the fourth quarter, but neither moments could held them get far out enough of 20-point deficits.
With under four minutes left in regulation, the Tigers were down 49-28. Senior Tiger forward Melvin Baker scored a total of eight points, as did guard Michael Otkins.
The game was the fourth meeting between the two teams this season, and the Warriors emerged as the victors three out of out the four.
Prior to Wednesday night, Independence was the No. 10 team in the LHSAA 2A Power Rankings. They will finish the regular season with an 18-4 overall record. Three of their four losses were to Amite.
Amite was last ranked No. 13 in the LHSAA 2A Power Rankings.