WEST ORANGE – Just two games into the season Linden has proven that it has much more to offer than just Quadri.
The Tigers may have found a second go-to player in first-year starter Cairo Brown.The 5-10 senior guard, who transferred in last year from a New York high school, pulled up and drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Linden past Don Bosco Prep 61-60 Saturday afternoon in the 14th annual Tip-Off Hoop Group Showcase.
With Linden 6-9 junior center Quadri Moore in and out of the lineup in the second half due to foul trouble, Brown stepped up by scoring 11 of his 13 points in the final two quarters. His game-winning shot gave Linden its fifth and final lead and provided the Tigers with their only fourth-quarter advantage.
Brown scored 20 points, including the basket that sent the game to overtime, in Friday afternoon’s season-opening 75-63 come-from-behind Union County Conference-Watchung Division home victory over defending Group 4 finalist Elizabeth.
Not a bad start to the 2012-13 campaign for Linden’s No. 3.
In a one-and-one situation at the line, Don Bosco Prep junior Paul Jorgenson – who finished with 12 points – made the first free throw to give the Ironmen (1-1) a 60-58 lead. He then missed the second, with a mad scramble for the rebound ensuing. The jump ball call resulted in Linden (2-0) gaining possession with 5.8 seconds left.
Brown, who was his team’s MVP at the Showcase, came down with the ball, dribbled right to the outside of the 3-point line and from the top of the key drained his only field goal of the fourth quarter.
“I was hoping to get some contact to get to the line,” said Brown, who has proven to be a player teams must guard closer in the final moments. “When I made the shot I, honestly, still didn’t know what was going on.”
Moore, who led Linden with 12 points at the half, scored his final basket inside to pull the Tigers to within 59-56. Fellow Linden junior Juwan Jones followed with an inside basket of his own to make it 59-58.
Jones was also a key contributor for the Tigers in the second half, scoring all 11 of his points in the final 16 minutes.
“With Quadri in foul trouble, we had to make some adjustments,” Brown said. “We did and we were able to grind it out.”
Don Bosco Prep, behind five points from Jorgenson, jumped out to an 8-2 lead. Linden battled back to take a 26-20 advantage in the second quarter before baskets by Jorgenson and junior Jack Ely, who contributed 11 points, made it a 26-24 game at intermission.
The Ironmen hung in there in the first half despite not receiving any scoring at all from starting 6-6 junior center Tom Sweeney, who had to sit with foul trouble of his own. As a result, Linden got the ball inside, but missed several layups. The Tigers also turned the ball over too much prompting head coach Phil Colicchio to ask his team when it was going to start playing Linden basketball.
Sweeney’s first basket of the second half pulled Don Bosco Prep to within one at 30-29 and his first free throw gave the Ironmen their third lead at 33-32. Sweeney, chosen his team’s Showcase MVP, scored 10 points in the third quarter and six in the fourth to match Moore with a game-high 16 points.
Brown’s first 3-pointer – which were the final points of the third quarter – pulled Linden to within 46-45.
After Moore – when Linden was down 59-58 – missed a 3-pointer with 1:15 to go, Ely came down with the rebound. Don Bosco Prep got the ball to half court with 59.3 seconds to go and called a timeout.
However, after five passes, Linden sophomore Juwan Dolbrice came up with a steal with 50 seconds to go. The Tigers came down and missed three shots but were still able to retain possession and called a timeout with 22 seconds left.
With Moore now back on the court, Brown tried to pass the ball to him when he took it out, but his pass went off Moore and was taken away by Don Bosco Prep sophomore Justin Salem.
The Ironmen got the ball to half court with 15.8 seconds to go and after two timeouts put the ball in Jorgenson’s hands. Jorgenson was then fouled by Linden sophomore Joshua Carter with 10.8 seconds left, but was only able to make one of two free throws.
Jorgenson went to the line three times, each time making the first free throw and missing the second to finish three-for-six from the line.
Linden could easily be 1-1 or even 0-2 at the moment. Lifted by the clutch shooting late in games by Brown, the Tigers have walked off two courts in two days victorious both times.
NOTES: Linden’s next game is at Watchung Division rival Union Tuesday at 4 p.m. The Farmers opened Saturday with a 49-37 home win over Hackettstown.
TIP-OFF HOOP GROUP SHOWCASE AT WEST ORANGE
DON BOSCO PREP (1-1) 13 11 22 14 – 60
LINDEN (2-0) 9 17 19 16 – 61
DON BOSCO PREP IRONMEN (60):
13-Amanie Craddock, sophomore, 0-1-0-3
12-Jack Ely, junior, 4-0-3-11
10-Joey Feinbery, senior, 1-2-0-8
3-Paul Jorgenson, junior, 3-1-3-12
20-Will McGrail, junior, 0-0-1-1
1-Lonnie Rivera, sophomore, 1-0-1-3
32-Justin Salem, sophomore, 0-2-0-6
15-Tom Sweeney, junior, 7-0-2-16
Starters: Jorgenson, Ely, Sweeney,
LINDEN TIGERS (61):
10-Terrell Bagley, junior, 2-0-2-6
15-Udraka Bey, senior, 0-0-0-0
3-Cairo Brown, senior, 2-2-3-13
4-Joshua Carter, sophomore, 3-0-1-7
1-Juwan Dolbrice, sophomore, 3-0-2-8
5-Juwan Jones, junior, 4-1-0-11
23-James Julius, sophomore, 0-0-0-0
30-Quadri Moore, junior, 6-0-4-16
Starters: Brown, Moore, Dolbrice,