Linder unloads from deep, leads Bruins past Spartans

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Pen Terry

[heading]Bruins outlast Battle, take first game in series[/heading]

basketball game shot
Josh Broadus goes to the line for pair of free throws in the game’s waning minutes to ice it for the Bruins. Photo by Brett Stover

In a game many were expecting RBHS to run away with, the young lineup for Battle was able to stay within striking distance of the Bruins but ultimately were unable to overcome the new crosstown rivals’ 13-26 shooting from beyond the arc.

Despite their spirited play in the final minutes, the comeback attempt was too little and too late for the Spartans who dropped the first ever meeting between RBHS Thursday evening. The Bruins escaped by score of 87-76.

Spartan freshman guard Daviante Ostander lead the Spartans on 9-17 and 6-10 from the three point line. Teammate sophomore forward Trey Smith added 24 points on 10-17 shooting. He finished the night hitting his last seven field goals.

“It’s good to see them have good games individually,” Battle head coach John Burns said, “but we’ve got to learn how to win these games.”

Both Spartan standouts, however, were overshadowed by the lights-out shooting of RBHS junior forward Spencer Linder, who hit his first seven shots including, five three pointers on his way to a career high 19 points on 7-9 shooting and 5-7 from three.

“He’s a great kid. He works and finally got his opportunity and he was probably the difference in the game,” Bruin head coach Jim Scanlon said of Linder’s performance. “He can do that; he can shoot. He’s got other areas he’s gotta work on, but shooting the ball he’s pretty good, and I’m happy for him because he’s a great kid, and he works hard.”

Linder had a feeling it was going to be a special night for him even before the game began.

“I was really feeling my shot in warm ups,” he said. “I told myself and my teammates that I was going to go off, so I got in there and I was really confident and my shots were just falling.”

After Battle tied the game at 10 early in the first quarter, the Bruins went on a 15-5 run to close the first period of play. RBHS added another 25 points in the second quarter to go into halftime up 50-31.

Battle came out of halftime with renewed intensity and cut the Bruin lead to 13 heading into the final period. The Spartans were able to take advantage of an ineffective Rock Bridge defense to cut the lead to single digits in the final frame.

The Bruins, however, held off their new crosstown foes thanks to consistent free throw shooting particularly by senior guard Jackson Dubinski, junior guard Ryan Kreklow and junior guard Josh Broadus who shot a combined 17-18 from the charity stripe in the second half.

“I gotta give credit to Rock Bridge,” Burns said. “We gave them our best shot, and they did what good teams do. They made free throws down the stretch. We were fouling and they just kept going.”

By Pen Terry