WHEELING — Powered by strong post play, the Linsly girls basketball team overcame some up-and-down play to defeat visiting John Marshall 62-43 Saturday inside Stifel Fieldhouse.
The Cadets’ (11-1) post duo of Carleigh Grimm and Zaniah Zellous both recorded double-doubles, combining for 28 points and 28 rebounds. Grimm recorded 12 points with 14 boards and five blocks while Zellous scored a team-high 16 points with 14 rebounds and three assists.
“Zaniah played really, really well today and not just because she scored 16 (points),” said Linsly coach Rebecca Upton. “She was distributing the ball where it needed to go and had some really good rebounds.”
“Carleigh Grimm is, if not the best player we’ll see, she’s up there,” added JM coach Brock Melko. “She’s very good in all aspects, she takes their team to the next level. … She’s just a tough matchup for anybody. Last year she gave us problems and we knew she was going to this year so I’ll be glad to see her graduate going into next season.”
The Monarchs (4-7) fought through some initial sloppiness to close out a competitive first quarter on a 6-2 run that cut the hosts’ lead to just one, 14-13. Linsly came out with all cylinder firing in the second quarter, however, and scored the first 12 points in the frame and 15 of the first 16 to build a 29-14 lead.
“We were making mistakes, we were not doing the things we were supposed to do, like getting the ball to the correct place or getting second chances on missed shots,” Upton said. “They stopped doing those things in the second quarter and so it went better.”
Zellous scored eight points in the second quarter, supported by six points from Brooklyn Edge.
“When we got in trouble we hurt ourselves offensively, giving them easy points,” Melko said. “Whether it was bad turnovers, missing an easy shot or taking a bad shot, it led to them getting some easy baskets in transition.”
John Marshall again closed the quarter out strong on a 7-2 run to make it just a 10-point deficit at the half, 31-21.
Just like in the second quarter, however, Linsly came out of the break as the sharper team and increased its lead further. The Cadets outscored JM 14-6 to take a 45-30 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We did a lot of rollercoastering today,” Upton said. “There were some really, really good moments and some moments where we got a little sloppy.”
The Monarchs played some of their best basketball in the fourth quarter, scoring 16 points, but Linsly kept pace with 17 of its own to close out the win.
“There was a lot of good and a little bit of ugly, but it’s been a long week for us,” Upton said. “(John Marshall) is scrappy and they play hard so I’m pleased overall.”
A bright spot in the game for JM was the play of junior Lilie Babiczuk, who finished with a game-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds.
“I was happy for her,” Melko said. “She’s been pretty good for us all year, in her one or two bad games, she’s started bad and I think she’s let it affect the rest of her game. I talked to her about that Monday and (Saturday) I think she overcame that. In the first two minutes she missed a layup or two and a few weeks ago she would’ve kind of shut down. She didn’t let that phase her, came out, played tough and really helped us.”
Babiczuk scored 11 of her points in the second half, with seven coming in the fourth quarter. Kaitlyn Blake finished second on the team with 10 points to go along with seven rebounds. Kayli Derrow finished with six points and a team-high nine boards.
Linsly had three players finish in double-figures and had eight players score overall.