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Persistent Linsly tops Charleston Catholic

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- All throughout its first-half malaise, Linsly somehow managed to keep hanging around against Charleston Catholic Saturday evening. The Cadets were rewarded for their persistence.

Anthony Wallace scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as Linsly rebounded from deficits as large as 15 points to earn a 56-53 victory at Catholic's Athletic Complex.

It marked the first loss of the season for the Irish (4-1), last year's Class A runners-up.

Colton Coss knocked down three 3-pointers in the second half for Linsly, and Wallace's driving three-point play with 27 seconds left gave the Wheeling private school its first and only lead at 55-53.

"I'm proud of how we trusted each other,'' said Linsly coach James Wallace. "Guys stepped up and took the roles they were forced to take . . . That was very good Linsly basketball in terms of relentlessness.''

Catholic led 37-22 midway through the third quarter, and it looked like it wasn't Linsly's night. Everything was going wrong - 4 of 19 shooting in the first quarter, foul problems for Anthony Wallace - the team's top scorer - and five offensive fouls through three periods.

Linsly (2-3), however, capitalized late against a short Irish bench, forcing Catholic into six fourth-quarter turnovers and limiting the Irish to 1 of 6 shooting in that time. The Cadets also knocked down three 3s in the final period to gain ground.

Anthony Wallace, who entered the game averaging 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists, missed his first six shots and was 1 of 10 at halftime as Linsly trailed 24-18. But he was money in the fourth quarter, hitting 4 of 5, including the winning three-point play, which followed three straight Irish turnovers.

"Anthony is such a good player,'' said James Wallace. "He understands there's more to the game than scoring, and he knew he was going to help us even if he wasn't scoring the basketball. He's too good of a scorer to go missing shots and missing shots.

"He made the play of the night when he drove the middle and got what we needed to get. There's a reason why he's a four-year letterman and there's a reason why he's a Division I, Division II recruit - not because of his talent but because of his heart, and he showed that today.''

The Irish leaned heavily on their top two returning scorers - all-staters Garret McCarty (22 points) and Nick George (17 points, seven rebounds), who had 12 of the team's 15 goals. Neither made a shot in the fourth quarter, however.

George missed a contested drive with 10 seconds left and McCarty was forced to fire up a deep errant 3 at the buzzer with Wallace defending.

Catholic shot 37.5 percent, was outrebounded 36-25 and had two more turnovers (14-12).

"We have been very fortunate over the years,'' said Irish coach Bill McClanahan, "to have basketball teams that are hard-working and smart and fundamentally sound and unselfish. I was never comfortable that this team fully understands and appreciates those principles, and we saw the result of that - not only in the way the game finished, but in the way the game was played, especially in the fourth quarter. Those are things uncharacteristic of this program, and things we're going to have to fix.''

Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazette.com.

 


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