Patriot girls reaping rewards

Published 10:50 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2009

After a sluggish start, Linden head coach Andro Williams and the LHS ladies are headed into Thursday’s area tournament as the No. 3 seed.

“We’ve just got to execute what we do,” Williams said of the team’s approach to the bracket. “We’ve got to eliminate the turnovers and handle whatever they throw at us.”

Linden’s success the second half of the season has been far from conventional as the team has relied heavily on defensive intensity and offensive balance to make up for its absence of a consistent go-to scorer.

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“We don’t have just one dominant player,” Williams said. “I think our system helps us that any one person can step up on any given night.”

Linden has three players — Meagin Hinton, Terrica Craig and Kileema Rogers — averaging just over 10 points per game. According to the Williams, in his first year of coaching the girls, the key difference for the team has been its adherence to a scheme.

“We weren’t used to having a system or having something to believe in,” Williams said of his players, whose basketball understanding is still developing. “We’ve got to know what to do and know why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

The team heads into the AHSAA 1A, Area 5 tournament Thursday faced with a familiar foe in No. 2 seed John Essex. The squads split their regular season meetings with each team holding home court. A victory Thursday means an automatic berth into the next week’s sub-regional tournament.

“We’ve just got to want the challenge,” Williams said. “That’s what the difference is right now.”

Williams also said that he anticipates his team will have little problem handling the pressure of the situation it will faces on a neutral floor in a win-or-go-home environment.

“We’ve been talking about that atmosphere all year,” Williams said. “I think they’re going to do things the same way (they’ve done them all season).”

Linden and John Essex tip off Thursday at 5:30 with No. 1 seed Sunshine hosting A.L. Johnson immediately after. ALJ defeated Sweet Water at Sunshine High Monday night in a play-in game to earn the right to face the Tigers Thursday.