By DAVE MORRISON
WHEELING - Linsly coach Erica Hall left the ball in her players court.
Either end the season as the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference 3A champions (beating Fort Frye in the title game Feb. 8) or play a makeup date with city rival Wheeling Central.
The vote was unanimous.
Linsly played the game Monday night and the Cadets 54-48 victory set a new school record for wins with 20 as they ended the season on a 20-game win streak.
Freshman Jazzie Orth led the way with 19 points and 14 rebounds for Linsly (20-1).
"I asked the girls, 'Do you want to end the season as OVAC champions and let that be it, or do you want to stick around for another week?'" Hall said. "They were determined to stick it out, even though I told them it wasn't just going to be a fun time. We were going to practice hard, we were going to run. Wheeling Central is a good team and we knew they were going to come in here and battle and play hard. That's exactly what they did."
Indeed they did, led by their own sparkling freshman Cate Calissie, who had 18 points.
It took a late run for the Linsly to pull it out, after Central led 20-19 after the first quarter and 33-30 at the half.
The game was tied after three, but the Cadets went on a 9-0 run in the fourth to open up a 50-43 lead.
Calissie had a 3 pointer and Mackenzie Michaels a deuce to cut the lead to two, 5-=48, with 32 second left but Orth and Vivian Allison (14 points) ended it with back to back baskets late.
"In noth games this year we had the lead in the fourth quarter and we made some mistakes down the stretch that cost us," Wheeling Central coach Penn Kurtz said. "We made some mistakes that we feel like we can fix so this game is going to help us. It's all about practice and getting better."
Central earned the top seed in the section and will have a bye in the opening round.
For Linsly, it was the beginning of what could be a bright future, with only two seniors on the squad.
"We had a great season," Hall said. "We are excited about the future and we had a season that these girls will remember the rest of their lives."