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Linsly grinds out win over Big Red girls

STEUBENVILLE — Offensive patience and defensive hustle helped Linsly grind out a 41-26 girls basketball victory over Big Red Tuesday inside the Crimson Center.

“It was a grind tonight,” Linsly coach Rebecca Upton said after her Cadets improved to 2-2. “I’m proud of our kids for sticking with what we wanted to do. It was a grind.

“Steubenville is way bigger and way more physical than us. We handled that, which is a good thing. This was just a huge, huge win for us.”

Thanks to the inside play of senior post Madison Fields, Big Red (2-2) grabbed an 8-6 lead after the opening quarter. Fields accounted for all the Steubenville points, scoring four off of offensive rebounds.

The Cadets opened the second quarter with a 7-0 scoring run. Junior Nevaeh Cook went 1 of 2 from the line, before fellow junior Molly Heron tallied six straight. She connected from behind the arc after a nifty pass from Brinley Steen. She then drained a free throw before knocking a short-range jumper.

A Fields free throw and a Myla Gulan triple pulled Big Red to within one (13-12) at the intermission.

Heron, who battled foul trouble for most of the game, opened the third with a jumper. Big Red then put together a 5-0 run to take a 17-15 lead.

Fields got things started with two freebies. She added another put-back before sophomore Elexis Martin sank a free toss. Linsly responded with a 6-0 run of its own to take the lead for good.

Carleigh Grimm got things started when she scored off a Steen assist. Steen then went baseline for a left-handed reverse layup. London Podobnik’s hoop, Steen assisted on that score also, made it 23-17 Cadets. Upton’s crew was up 27-19 heading into the final quarter.

Linsly put the game away in the fourth by going 8 for 8 from the line.

“We wanted to be choosy with our up tempo moments,” Upton said about her offensive game plan. “We have a tendency to get a little frantic when we go up tempo. Turning the ball over was not going to be to our advantage, and allowing them to use their size to dictate what we could do also was not to our advantage. Our goal was to pick and choose when we pushed the ball and how we wanted to stretch the game out.

“Defensively, we wanted to pack in it and keep the ball out of the hands of their post players. So much of their offense goes through the posts, and they are very, very good. We wanted to force them to beat us from the outside.”

The smaller Cadets out-rebounded Big Red, 30-22. Grimm snared 10 rebounds, while Steen finished with six. Fields collected 10 to lead Big Red.

“I have to do a better job of coaching,” Big Red coach Jeff Lombardo said. “I thought defensively we were good in the first half. It seemed like we got out of sorts in the second half. They made a run and we didn’t respond to it.

“We’re searching for an identity right now. We’ll get back after it in practice, trying to find that identity and ways to score. We’re playing some younger girls now, so that was their first taste of varsity action, and it came against a good team.”

Heron paced Linsly with 16 points. Grimm and Steen evenly divided 16, while Cook contributed seven. Steen was 6 of 6 from the charity stripe during the fourth quarter, and Cook went 2 for 2.

“Molly is tough — she’s the most competitive kid I have met,” Upton said. “She wants to win so bad. She wants to be successful in every aspect of her life. She is just a neat kid and she played well tonight.”

Fields completed her double-double by recording 18 of Big Red’s 26 points.

“A couple of times we got the ball inside, but the majority of her (Fields’) buckets were off offensive rebounds,” Lombardo said. “They kind of packed it in on us and dared us to shoot from the outside, and we didn’t shoot the ball very well. Madison did a good job for us when it came to getting offensive rebounds and finishing.”

JV TIE

The junior varsity squads played to a 16-16 tie in the two-quarter preliminary. Maggi Cucarese led Big Red with six points. London Podobnik had 11 for the Cadets.

UP NEXT

LINSLY: Will play its initial home game of the season today against Magnolia.

BIG RED: Idle until Monday when it visits Indian Creek.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Lombardo said. “I have to step it up as a coach and some of these girls have to step it up as players.”

Linsly 41, Big Red 26

Linsly 6-7-14-14 — 41

Big Red 8-4-7-7 — 26

LINSLY (2-2): Cook 1 5-6 7; Grimm 4 0-0 8; Heitz 0 0-0 0; Heron 7 1-2 16; Steen 1 6-6 8; Burwell 0 0-0 0; Podobnik 1 0-0 2; Demarchi 0 0-0 0; Beazel 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14, 12-14: 41.

BIG RED (2-2): Thompson 0 0-0 0; Gulan 1 0-0 3; Cucarese 0 0-0 0; Maxwell 0 0-0 0; Fields 7 4-8 18; Minniefield 0 0-2 0; Martin 1 1-2 3; Hill 0 0-0 0; Marshall 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 10, 5-12: 26.

3-POINT GOALS: Linsly 1 (Heron); Big Red 1 (Gulan). REBOUNDS: Linsly 30 (Grimm 10, Steen 6); Big Red 22 (Fields 10, Martin 3). TURNOVERS: Linsly 14; Big Red 10.

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