Linbo rallies Grant but bangs head again
The postgame handshake line extended to the end of Grant's bench, where the hero sat. Jazzlyn Linbo's left hand supported her head, as Warren players, one by one, grabbed her right hand.
Grant's athletic trainer sat in the chair next to Linbo, who had no recall of her fourth-quarter heroics.
"I blacked out a little," said Linbo, who sat the final 33.7 seconds of Grant's 67-66 win in fourth-day action of the Grant Holiday Tournament on Friday.
The 6-foot-2 Linbo and Warren's 6-1 Annika Gustafson each had two hands on a missed Grant free throw with the host Bulldogs clinging to a 65-64 lead. With the ball behind Linbo's head, the two post players tumbled to the court backward, never letting go of the ball. While Gustafson escaped with a scraped elbow, Linbo hit her head on the court. A day earlier against De La Salle, Linbo hit her shoulder and then her head on the floor, causing her to miss the most of the second half.
"It was the same spot as today," Linbo said.
"We're going to find out tomorrow morning," Grant coach Kevin Geist said of the extent of Linbo's second bump to the head in 24 hours. "But it looked similar and sounded the same as yesterday when she hit her shoulder first."
The victory, which included squandering a 12-point lead in the second quarter, put Grant (10-5, 3-1 tournament) in position to successfully defend its championship. The Bulldogs will play at 10 a.m. Saturday against Deerfield, which is also 3-1 in the tourney after losing to De La Salle on Friday. If Deerfield wins, the Warriors will win the title.
It was Linbo who rallied Grant in the fourth quarter, after Trenise Powe's 3-pointer put Warren (5-10, 2-2 tourney) up 64-54 with 4:04 left. Linbo's personal 11-0 run (3-pointer, three-point play, 3-pointer, 2-of-2 free throws) gave Grant a 65-64 lead with 1:31 to go.
Linbo finished with a game-high 26 points (4 of 6 from the arc), 8 rebounds and 4 blocks.
"She's a tough match," Warren coach John Stanczykiewicz said. "If you put a big on her, she's going to look to take you to the basket. If you put a smaller player on her, then she begins to work inside a little bit more. We just didn't have an answer for her."
Linbo scored 10 points, including a pair of 3s, in the first quarter, but Warren limited her to just 2 shots in the middle quarters.
"We found her (in the fourth)," Geist said of Linbo, who had 14 points in the final quarter. "We made the right read. It was much different from (Thursday, 67-30 loss to De La Salle), when we were forcing stuff. When she's open like that, it's going to be a long night for the opponent."
Caroline Sharpe sank four of Warren's eight 3-pointers and led the Blue Devils with 16 points. Sophomore post Grace Lynch had 15 points and 10 rebounds (8 offensive), and freshman guard Zion Levy tallied 15 points (two 3s), 6 rebounds and 3 steals.
Warren used a half-court press to spark a 22-2 run in the second quarter that turned a 27-15 deficit into a 37-29 lead with 2:20 left before halftime. But the Blue Devils, who were up 40-35 at the half, shot just 6 of 20 from the foul line for the game.
"It's tough to lose, but it's really fun to play a game like that, that's close and competitive," said Gustafson, who came off the bench to score 4 points and grab 6 rebounds.
MaCalyn Flores and Kylie Whyte added 14 and 12 points, respectively, for Grant. Each player along with Katelyn Dupree (8 points) sank two 3s.
After Powe (5 points) hit her 3-pointer midway through the fourth, Warren didn't score again until Gustafson's putback at the buzzer.
"There are just times where we're just not aware through possessions," said Stanczykiewicz, whose team has been without point guard Jesette Ezernack (high-ankle sprain) since a win over Mundelein on Dec. 6. "I thought we gave some possessions away, where we lost our focus."