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Linden beats Essex for 1A, Area 4 crown

LINDEN — The Patriots (18-7) grabbed their third straight Class 1A, Area 4 title Monday with a 70-46 win over John Essex (5-17).

Top-seeded Linden started the game off on a 7-3 run and stretched the lead to double digits before the No. 3 seed Hornets cut their deficit to 12-9 with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

That proved to be the last time the game was close as Linden ended the opening frame on a 4-0 clip before stretching it to an 8-0 out of the gate in the second quarter.

By halftime, the Patriots were up 35-20 on John Essex. Adding demoralization to defeat, Linden outscored Essex 20-9 in the third quarter to carry a 26-point advantage into the game’s final period.

The fourth quarter saw Linden’s regulars glued firmly to the bench while the back end of the Patriot roster played out the game’s final minutes.

Shauka Reese had 12 points in the first half for Linden and ultimately led all scorers with 18 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists.

Imoras Agee scored 10 of his 16 points in the third quarter while also grabbing six rebounds in the game.

Wilvonta Horton finished the night with 17 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots while snagging tournament most valuable player honors in the process.

Michael Moore led John Essex with 15 points. Terry Fountain had eight points and 10 rebounds. Travis Tripp had 11 rebounds and six blocked shots while Markeise Tucker finished with eight rebounds.

The all-tournament team included Trayun Jones from Sweet Water, Marengo’s Quenton Hazewood and Patrick Bouler, A.L. Johnson’s Cla’Darius Thomas and Mark Woods, Moore, Fountain and Tucker from Essex and Reese, Agee, Horton and Anthony Robinson of Linden.

Friday night, the Patriots will host the loser of the Class 1A, Area 1 title game between McIntosh and St. Luke’s. John Essex will travel to face the Area 1 winner.

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