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Linden advances to area finals

NEWBERN — Linden routed John Essex 65-24 in the first round of the AHSAA Class 1A, Area 5 tournament Thursday.

The Patriots entered the locker room at halftime with a 28-12 lead before erupting for 37 points in the game’s final 16 minutes.

“At halftime we talked about playing smart basketball,” head coach Andro Williams said of his team. “I think we started taking high percentage shots.”

Terrica Craig led the Patriots with 18 points in the game. Meagin Hinton finished with 13 while Kileema Rogers added 10.

Jamie Johnson scored seven points to lead John Essex.

The win advances the No. 3 seed Patriots to the tournament finals Saturday night where they will face top-seeded host Sunshine.

“We want to continue to get better mentally,” Williams said of his team, which he says is still developing its understanding of the game.

Sunshine and Linden have clinched their spots in next week’s sub-regional tournament.