Linden ladies end Sweet Water’s season

Published 9:37 pm Monday, February 7, 2011

DIXONS MILLS — Linden overcame a key injury and late shooting woes to bounce Sweet Water from the Class 1A, Area 4 tournament Monday night with a 50-45 win.

With Linden clinging to a narrow lead late in the third quarter, senior Kileema Rogers landed awkwardly after a three-point attempt. The Lady Patriot senior stayed on the floor for several minutes until she was helped off the court by her father and Linden coaches.

“I told them they were going to have to play for her,” Linden head coach Teressa Bolden said of the admonishment she laid upon her team following the loss Rogers. “She played her butt off the first half, so it was only fair they step up and play now.”

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Rogers had 23 of the Lady Patriots’ 33 points when she sustained the injury with 2:12 remaining in the third quarter. After her departure, Linden did not make a field goal until only 2:52 remained in the contest.

“We were all frustrated at that point,” Bolden said of the near eight-minute stretch in which her team failed to affect the scoreboard from the floor. “But they played defense, so the game didn’t get too far away.”

Linden’s defensive efforts kept Sweet Water at bay as the Lady Patriots overcame their offensive woes by continuously finding their way to the free throw line.

“We’ve practiced them all year. We didn’t change anything,” Bolden said of her team’s abnormally strong performance from the charity stripe Monday. “They stepped up to the line and hit them (Monday).”

Free throws left Linden up 48-45 with only three seconds remaining on the clock. With Sweet Water set to inbound the ball under its own basket, Linden’s pressure defense forced a timeout call. The decision proved costly as Sweet Water had already burned its final timeout, producing a technical foul that allowed Linden to ice the game with two more charity tosses.

“We’re hoping for the best and maybe she’ll be able to go Thursday night,” Bolden said of Rogers’ playing prospects heading into Thursday’s matchup with No. 1 seed Marengo.

Rogers led all scorers Monday, posting her 23 points despite missing more than 10 minutes of game time due to injury. Keyanna Lacey added eight points for Linden.

Telicia Blanks led Sweet Water with 20 points, 16 of which came in the second half. LaKeshia Johnson added 11 points and Andrea Landrum finished with seven.

Tournament action resumes Thursday at 6 p.m. when Linden challenges Marengo and John Essex faces A.L. Johnson.