Linden holds off Brantley comeback bid to move to South Regional

LINDEN – Basketball is a game of runs, a fact that has never been more evident than it was Tuesday night as Linden downed Brantley 62-52 in Class 1A South sub-regional action.

The Patriots pressed Brantley to the brink of collapse Tuesday night, holding the Bulldogs to just four field goals in the first half while carrying a 27-14 lead to the locker room. As the third quarter opened, Linden rode the hot shooting of junior Graderius Brown to a 17-2 run. Midway through the third quarter, Brantley trailed 44-16. Then things go really interesting.

“We stopped doing what we were doing the first half. We stopped doing what we were taught to do and just got erratic,” Linden coach Woodie Jackson said. “We got complacent. We weren’t making the fundamental passes that we did the first half and just started playing sloppy.”

Brantley began chipping away at Linden, ending the third quarter on a 13-1 run to narrow the gap to 45-29. Brantley showed no letup in the final quarter.

With 1:45 to play, Parker Driggers hit a free throw to cut the deficit to 53-50. Brantley could get no closer.

Brown put his stamp on the victory early and often Tuesday. Isaiah Scott stole the ball with 1:11 to play in the first quarter and kicked it to Brown, who drained a three-pointer to stretch the lead to 18-8 and force a Brantley timeout.

Brown then got really hot. He knocked down triples off the catch and off the bounce, including a well-guarded isolation step-back three that left the Bulldog bench bewildered.

“He is like me. He can shoot the W off a whistle, a good little player. Pound for pound, a great athlete,” Jackson said of Brown.

All told, Brown ripped the twine with eight threes on the night, finishing with 30 points to lead all scorers. Scott added 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Kevin Green had eight points. Malik Collins and Roderick Dansby notched 10 rebounds apiece.

D’Andre Sinclair had 14 points and 13 rebounds to lead Brantley. Adrian Person Jr. finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Driggers had 13 points and six rebounds.

Linden (10-10) advances to the South Regional Friday when it will play J.F. Shields.

“We’re going to play hard to win. We’ve made it that far, there ain’t no sense in losing,” Jackson, who has six state championship rings on his resume, said.