Patriots press through from Greene County

EUTAW — Linden (10-1) used its defensive pressure and offensive sharpshooting to overcome an early deficit and upend Greene County 82-68 Thursday night.

The Patriots trailed 20-14 after the game’s opening quarter but used a buzzer-beating layup by Imoras Agee at the end of the frame to ignite a 16-0 run that put them up by as many as eight points in the second quarter.

A 31-23 Linden lead evaporated quickly in the closing minutes of the game’s opening half as Greene County embarked on a 9-1 run of its own to close the gap and send the contest to a 32-all halftime tie.

The second half saw Linden jump into its trademark pressure defense and use the resistance to feed its transition game. In the half court, the game strategy became largely about ball movement and opening up shooters from deep as Linden knocked down five three-pointers in the third quarter.

Still, Greene County refused to go away, using the speed and quickness of point guard Devin Merriweather to give its offense opportunities from the field and the free throw line.

Linden carried a narrow 56-53 lead in to the fourth quarter before the Greene County Tigers took their first lead since the game’s early going.

With 5:16 to play in the contest, Greene County proved the beneficiary of a flagrant foul call during a loose ball situation. The Tigers made the second of two free throw attempts to take a 62-61 lead.

However, 23 seconds later, Linden took a lead it would never relinquish when Shauka Reese drove to the rim and forced in a layup through contact. The ensuing free throw finished the three-point play and left Linden up 64-62.

Linden proceeded to ratchet up its defensive pressure, creating opportunities that led to 18 more points over the game’s final four and a half minutes on its way to the victory.

Reese led all scorers with 28 points on the night. Agee finished the night with 23 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Nicholas Rogers chipped in 15 points in the win.

Merriweather led Greene County with 23 points while Montel Harkness had 13 and Brandon Williams had 12.

Linden plays again Friday night when it begins area play against John Essex.