Linden controls Tornadoes

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 18, 2008

PARRISH &8212; Parrish had a gameplan prepared for Linden entering their 1A sub-region matchup Friday night.

Linden just wouldn&8217;t allow the Tornadoes to implement it.

The Patriots run-and-gun offense took control in the first half and Parrish&8217;s valiant comeback fell short as Linden advanced to the Central Regional Tournament in Montgomery with an 81-67 victory at Parrish High School.

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Parrish&8217;s Princeton offense, that had worked so well in the area tournament, was thwarted from the start by an ultra-athletic Linden squad.

Linden led by as many as 23 points in the first half after an offensive free-for-all that turned a six-point lead into a runaway.

Parrish fought back, closing the half with a 12-0 run to cut the gap to 11 points, but the damage was done. The Tornadoes didn&8217;t get within eight points the rest of the way.

Linden&8217;s combination of Sean Richardson, Ajaron Bruno and Barry Williams did its damage inside the lane and behind the arc. Richardson did the dirty work under the goal, Williams was the Patriots&8217; long-range threat and Bruno did everything in-between.

The trio combined for 74 points. Richardson and Bruno each had 25 points while Williams added 24.

During Linden&8217;s torrid, first-half stretch, that included runs of 16-4 and 14-2, Linden&8217;s pressure defense and speed turned Parrish&8217;s cross-court passes into easy baskets on the other end. The Patriots also had numerous length-of-the-court passes to open men under the basket for easy scores.

Despite their problems, the Tornadoes got to with nine points in the third quarter after a Jaquori Gaines basket made the score 50-41.

Linden responded with two steals and six straight points to push the lead back to 15.

Linden (22-4) showed all facets of its offense in the opening minutes as big man Richardson, outside ace Williams and forward Bruno each hit shots as the Patriots jumped out to a 9-2 lead.

Parrish cut the lead to 9-8 following baskets by Steve Tucker and Jarius Williams.

Linden closed the first quarter on a spurt to take a 24-14 lead. Bruno scored six points and Williams and Bruno added baskets in the first four minutes of the second quarter as the Patriots built a 44-21 lead.

Parrish (17-9) bounced back over the final three minutes of the second quarter, holding the Patriots scoreless while scoring 12 straight points. Levi Hitt started the run with a basket, Carrington Stewart hit a putback and a pair of free throws and &8216;Dre Tucker knocked down a jumper in the closing seconds as Linden took a 44-33 lead into the half.

Storm Wade buried a 3-pointer to open the second half to make the score 44-36.

Richardson had nine third-quarter points for Linden to keep Parrish at bay. The Patriots led 59-49 after three quarters.

Parrish got within nine points in the final quarter at 70-61 following a Hitt basket.

Linden sealed the game with free throws and baskets by Bruno and Williams.

Linden will take on St. Jude at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Central Regional Tournament at Alabama State.