COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After dropping two games to Mifflin and Centennial, any shot of representing the North in the City title seemed to be out the window for Linden. This week though, the Panthers put the league on notice, first by going to Northland and knocking off the previously unbeaten in City North play Vikings . The encore performance was well worth the price of admission as Linden knocked off Beechcroft in a 68-66 overtime thriller.
Linden came out of the gates throwing haymakers as they jumped out to an early 9-4 lead highlighted by a monster tip slam from junior wing Chance Groce. Davon Wooden’s pull up three helped Beechcroft find their footing. Amani Lyles had a big first quarter as he paced the Cougars with eight points. Lason Walker paced the way for Linden with seven and the Panthers held a 20-17 lead after one period.
Senior guard Quanial Christian started to get it going as he knocked down two threes in the second quarter. Beechcroft used a 7-0 run late in the second quarter and took a 33-28 halftime lead.
The third quarter featured back and forth action with the teams trading baskets. Linden was hot from three as they knocked down three of them in the quarter, two coming from Chance Groce. Beechcroft had a balanced attack with four guys scoring and took a 43-39 lead into the fourth quarter.
Amani Lyles did all he could to help Beechcroft secure the win, going off for eight points in the quarter, but Linden had other plans in mind. The fourth three off the game from Quanial Christian made the game 54-51 with just 36 seconds remaining in the game.
Beechcroft headed to the line for one-and-one where they missed the front end. Linden had possession of the ball trailing by three. With Beechcroft only having two fouls they opted to foul to prevent Linden from getting a three point look off.
It didn’t exactly go that way as senior guard Quanial made yet another clutch play passing out of a double team to Groce where he buried an absolutely cold blooded three to beat the buzzer and force overtime. After the officials talked it over, four seconds were added to the clock but they wouldn’t matter as Linden came up with a stop.
Heading into the overtime all the momentum favored Linden and they took advantage as they held a 68-62 lead with 33 seconds remaining in the game. Beechcroft made things interesting down the stretch but ultimately came up short on their last possession, missing opportunities to tie and win the game.
For Linden, Christian led all scorers with 18 points, Shamarion Rogers had 16, Walker had 14, and Groce had 13 points
For Beechcroft, Lyles had a game-high 22 points and JJ Simmons added 19.