Linsly Fights Through, Beats WC
By JIM ELLIOTT
WHEELING – Linsly gained 24 points in the paint in what proved to be a 50-43 victory against Wheeling Central on Thursday night at the Maroon Knights’ gym.
Trouble was, Cadets coach Erica Hall figured her club lost at least 30 more in that general area.
”We missed a ton of layups,” she said. “It was kind of hold your breath when we got a shot opportunity with the way were shooting. We’d make some layups and others we’d be wide open and we were missing.
“I think it’s a credit to our girls that missing so many, they didn’t completely shut down. I’m not sure if I was on the court, I could have taken missing another layup.”
Wheeling Central missed just as many jumpers and leaners, too.
Both clubs were seeing live competition the first time in more than two weeks, and it showed.
Foul trouble didn’t help either.
Each team had a player foul out, three others whistled for four, and 37 fouls were reported in all.
For the Cadets (8-1), the storm came early with both Morgan Brunner and Jazzie Orth picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter. The Maroon Knights took advantage, building a five-point lead -their largest of the night – with eight seconds left.
Then the shots quit falling. Wheeling Central didn’t score its first basket in the second quarter until there was 2:42 remaining and Linsly had squeezed every last drop of out its deficit.
”Their 1-3-1 caused us some problems,” Maroon Knights coach Penn Kurtz said.
Wheeling Central’s foul troubles came late. Lindsay Baker fouled out with 4:30 to go and Regan Blaha and Ashton Cross both had four when the buzzer sounded.
”When we got them in foul trouble in the second quarter, we didn’t take advantage of it,” Kurtz said.
Linsly, which wound up getting a game-best 16 points from Brunner, 12 from Orth, and 10 from Vivian Allison, took its largest edge early in the third quarter at 31-21.
Central, backed by a team-best 10 points from McKenzi Michaels, nine from Sydney Bennington, and eight each from Blaha and Cate Calisse, fought back to tie it at 33-33 and went ahead 35-33 on back-to-back buckets from Calisse and Michaels before the Cadets rattled off 17 of the game’s final 25 points.
”Both teams play good, tough, aggressive defense, so you’re not getting wide open looks most of the time,” Kurtz said. “It was a very competitive, hard played game. They made more plays than we did.”
Kurtz figured that meant the game-long battle on the boards his team was losing had caught up to it, but seven of those 17 points in the last six minutes (on eight chances) came at the foul line, which was the difference in the game’s final margin.
”Sometimes I worry a little bit about our maturity, but I think that we showed maturity at the end of the game. We made free throws late,” Hall said. “It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re missing layup after layup. We took of our business defensively. We played smart defensively. We really played together. Central definitely wasn’t backing off and we knew they were going to fight us to the end.”