Linsly Falls to Fort Frye in Overtime, 68-64, in Wheeling

Photo by Kyle Lutz Linsly’s Jimmy Zecca brings the ball down court during Tuesday’s game against Fort Frye.

WHEELING — The last time Fort Frye left the Linsly campus the Beverly-based Cadets were licking their wounds from an OVAC Class 3A consolation game loss in February.

Tuesday night’s long ride home was much more enjoyable as Fort Frye departed the Friendly City with a hard-earned 68-64 overtime triumph. The game was a mutual opener for both squads.

The loss was a tough pill to swallow for Linsly as the hosts put together a gallant comeback, battling back from several double-digit deficits to forge overtime.

Despite the loss, Coach James Wallace can take a lot of optimism away from the contest. His Cadets lost the mother lode of talent from last year’s talented squad but realized there is no reason for doom and gloom this winter.

Despite no returning starters, Linsly may have found its identity against always formidable Fort Frye. Wallace utilized a deep and athletic bench to implement fullcourt pressure after a walk-it-up first quarter. It proved a productive plan.

Linsly’s length and tenacious pressure gave Fort Frye fits over the final two quarters. And when the visitors misfired on 7 of 8 free throws in the final two minutes of regulation it opened the door for a Jimmy Zecca trey with 3.2 seconds left in regulation to knot matters at 59-59. Fort Frye was unable to get a shot off, resulting in an extra session.

Amazingly, Fort Frye’s free throw misery continued in overtime. The visitors misfired on 7 of 10 free throws in the extra panel.

Zane Greenleaf, however, rose to the occasion in the extra session, netting three buckets and one charity toss to provide Fort Frye enough firepower to pull out the win.

Linsly didn’t help itself at the stripe in overtime either. The hosts missed 4 of 5 attemps.

“I can’t explain what happened at the foul line (Tuesday),” Fort Frye coach Eric Henniger said. “We just needed to make one more free throw down the stretch and we would have been OK. But it is opening night and we are going to go through some growing pains.

“Give Linsly credit. They battled back several times. Their pressure changed the tempo and gave us some issues. We came up last year and they pounded us. Although it was ugly at times, it’s nice to get out of here with a win. Linsly has some real nice looking athletes. They are going to be a nice team.”

Fort Frye displayed nice balance with seven players scoring, four of whom reached double figures.

Greenleaf led the way with 17 points. Grayson Schott netted 14 counters while Bryson Schilling chipped in with 12.

Fort Frye ended the night a frosty 12 of 26 from the charity stripe.

“I thought we competed well. Once we got over the awe of opening night we played hard,” Wallace said. “I was really happy with how well we pressured. We weren’t sure how effective we would be with our press. It changed the entire complexion of the game.

“I think we took a big step forward. Although we lost, our kids have to have added confidence. Fort Frye is a very good program. We got nice performances from a lot of kids. If we keep playing hard

and competing like tonight we will be alright down the road.”

Linsly had nine players reach the scoring column.

Zecca, a Wheeling Central transfer, led the way with 15 points. Dynamo sophomore point guard Trevin Tush delivered 10 points and boundless energy. Athletic freshman Hunter Kelley impressed off the bench with eight counters.

Fort Frye led 14-10 after one quarter before stretching it to 31-21 at halftime. Linsly still trailed 43-34 entering the final chapter.

Both teams have acid tests in their next outings. Linsly faces small-school power Morgantown Trinity Thursday while Fort Frye visits Warren Local Tuesday.