BARNESVILLE — Visiting Linsey High clamped down on Barnesville’s high scoring senior standout Luke Powell in the first half on Wednesday night to build up a huge first half lead that held up for a 77-54 victory.
With the Cadets holding Powell to a season-first two points in the opening half, offensively they used an early 6-0 run to build a 14-9 lead after the opening quarter.
In the second stanza, the Cadets added to their lead with a 22-9 scoring advantage to enjoy a comfortable 36-18 lead at the halftime break that proved too big a hole to dig out of for the Shamrocks.
The Barnesville talented All-Ohioan performer didn’t score in the first quarter, had just two points in the second.
Linsly gave Powell plenty of attention defensively — who couldn’t get a shot to fall, just like his teammates in a sluggish first half of play.
"Give Linsly credit," Barnesville head coach Matt Johnson said. "They pretty much dominated and did what they wanted to do and made us play a certain way in that first half."
"Obviously, our shots weren’t falling and, when that happens, along with everyone else in the valley, I’m sure nothing looks good," Johnson added. "(Linsly) played a heckuva game."
Not helping the Barnesville cause was the loss of sophomore starting guard Kason Powell who missed the game with an ankle injury suffered in practice on Monday.
"We’re a different team without him," Johnson said. "The sad thing is, our kids were just now starting to find their roles. Now, with him gone, they have to find new roles."
Faced with the huge defiecit starting the second half, Powell went to work trying to bring his squad back and tallied all 15 of Barnesville’s points as the ‘Rocks trimmed their margin to seven at 40-33 on Powell’s triple with just 30 seconds left in the third.
But Linsly responded by closing the third period with a pair of late buckets from Trevin Tush to lead 44-33 heading to the final quarter.
Linsey added to the run into the fourth to push the Cadets lead back up to 49-37 with 6:04 left in the game.
Barnesville kept fighting and clawed back to nine at 54-45 at the 5:02 mark of the fourth quarter on sophomore Jeremy Hunkler layup.
Later, after Powell made a pair of free throws making the score 58-49, Barnesville turned the ball over and Hunter Kelley scored at the other end. That sparked a game-ending 19-5 Linsey charge to collect the win to improve to 7-3 on the year.
Despite a heroic second half performance of 28 points by Powell to finish with a game-high 30 points, the ‘Rocks were just not able to recover from the first alf shooting woes.
Hunker finished with nine points for Barnesville (10-2), with junior Ayden Hannahs adding five.
"We get (the score) to six or seven then we have momentum on our side," Johnson offered. "But we just couldn’t get over the hump and there was a reason for that. They were very good on defense and we missed some open shots."
Linsey was led by Marshall Taylor with 21 points and Tush added 16 and also received 13 points from Dorde Donavic and 11 from Nathan Coleman.