Linsly Girls Bury Clay-Battelle, 75-40
Grimm Records Double-Double, Finishes With 17 Points, 13 Boards
WHEELING – Like most high school basketball teams in West Virginia, Coach Rebecca Upton’s Linsly girls have been chomping at the bit for the opportunity to return to the court and get the 2021 campaign started.
Friday night the Lady Cadets did just that against visiting Clay-Battelle, actually looking more like a team in mid-season form than one breaking the seal on a new season.
Junior Carleigh Grimm had a double-double in the first half, finishing with team highs of 17 points and 13 rebounds while classmate Haley Heitz came off the bench to score 15 and help spearhead a 14-0 first quarter run that eventually led Linsly to a 75-40 pounding of the Cee-Bees at Stifel Fieldhouse.
In all, the Lady Cadets had four double-figure scorers, grabbed a 30-23 edge off the glass, forced a whopping 34 turnovers while committing just six miscues of their own and had runs of 14-0 and 18-0 on the path to victory.
“That was nice, and I will sleep well tonight,” Upton joked with a smile afterwards. “These girls have been working very hard and we have a lot of seasoned kids that know exactly what they want. They have been very frustrated with everything going on and the fact that they haven’t been able to play but at the same time have been doing great at practice.”
After watching Clay-Battelle junior sharp-shooter Alivia Ammons bury a pair of field goals to give the visitors an early 5-2 lead, the Cadets came to life with a pair of Heitz triples and four points from senior Molly Heron keying a 14-0 blast that all of the sudden gave Linsly a 16-5 lead late in the opening period. The hosts eventually settled for a 22-12 advantage after one.
Heitz and Grimm each added five more points in the second frame before the Cadets took their largest lead of the first half, 40-20, on a Brinley Steen put-back just ahead of the buzzer. By halftime Grimm had scored 12 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while Heitz had 13, including three bombs, in the half.
Things didn’t get any better for the visitors returning to the court in the third quarter as Linsly, which had scored the final four markers of the second quarter, scored the initial 16 points of the third. Steen scored eight of her 14 points in a 2:04 span of the run while Clay-Battelle, which hadn’t scored a point since 1:19 of the second, got its first field goal at 3:26 of the third to end the long run.
The Cee-Bees were never able to make any kind of run even though Ammons scored 10 of her game-high 22 points over the final eight minutes of play.
“The fact that the girls like playing our defense really makes everything easier for us when it comes to creating turnovers,” Upton said. “They really buy into things and it’s as simple as that. On the other side our goal last year was to reduce our turnovers and that hasn’t changed coming into this season and we did a great job taking care of the ball and being unselfish (Friday).
“Molly Heron has a huge nose for the ball and Carleigh Grimm’s hands just seem to be everywhere out there. She has a tremendous wingspan and does an amazing job anticipating where the ball is going. Every our “littles” were rebounding, and I really like that. We have six starters on this team (even though we can only play five at a time).
“Haley Heitz didn’t start the game, but she came off the bench and made a big impact. She does so many things for us out there that a lot of people just don’t recognize. She makes all the hustle plays and just seems to be at the right place at the right time.”
Heron was Linsly’s fourth double-digit scorer with 14 points while also pulling down eight missed shots.
Linsly returns to action Monday night when the Cadets travel to New Martinsville to take on Magnolia.