Linden uses late run to pull away from Demopolis

20131213 DHS vs Linden-8854Kynard Craig turned a tightly-contested affair firmly in Linden’s favor in the final minute Friday as the Patriots went on the road to beat Demopolis 58-50.

With 57 seconds remaining, Craig connected on a lay-in to push the Patriot advantage to 53-48. He then stole the ensuing inbound pass and laid it in while absorbing a foul. Craig dropped in the And-1 opportunity to stretch the lead to 56-48 and effectively ice the contest.

“I thought we hustled,” Linden coach Andro Williams said of his team, which is still finding its way after only four games this season. “We’re trying to learn to play within what we’re trying to do. We play in spurts because we don’t stay focused on the task at hand.”

Demopolis (3-5) led 16-12 after the first quarter before an 18-10 second quarter run left the Patriots up 30-26 at half.

Kiante Jeffries, who finished with a game high 21 points, powered the Tigers with 13 points in the first half. Despite his strong night at the free throw line, Jeffries only connected on one shot from the field in the second half as the Tigers hit only six field goals over the game’s final 16 minutes.

“They play man-to-man defense,” Demopolis coach Rodney Jackson said of the Patriots. “They were tough. I think it came down to our lack of execution.”

20131213 DHS vs Linden-9121Jackson’s squad entered the contest with the unenviable task of defending Linden’s leading scorer Imoras Agee, who finished his night with 16 points.

“Agee is a heck of a ball player,” Jackson said. “I thought we kept him under wraps most of the night. But when they needed plays, he made plays.”

The Tigers played the contest without two of its top rotation players in Cortez Lewis and Demetrius Kemp. Lewis, a standout wide receiver on the football field, is on an official visit with Northern Illinois. Kemp, a standout wide receiver and safety, is in Montgomery where he is participating in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game.

The absences left the Tigers with a depleted bench at the tail end of a week in which they have played four games in five days.

“Fourth quarter, I know they were tired,” Jackson said of his players. “They were giving me everything they had. We had a tough loss last night against Hillcrest and then turned around and had to play a rivalry game.”

Linden (4-0) also wrapped up a four-game week with Friday’s contest, finishing its first five-day span unbeaten.

“We wanted to play it one game at a time and lay it all down on that one game we were playing,” Williams said of his expectations during his team’s first week.

Agee’s 16 points led Linden while Craig finished 15. Chris Rogers chipped in eight for the Pats.

Tyler Perkins added 10 for Demopolis while Roderick Davis had seven to go along with five assists. Charles Tripp blocked five shots for the Tigers.