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Tigers Sports

Linden 49, Plainfield 44 Jerry Carino's Hoops Haven

Posted Monday, March 03, 2008 by Jerry Carino's Hoops Haven

Linden 49, Plainfield 44

by Jerry Carino's Hoops Haven
Reader's note: A few other college hoops matters are addressed at bottom...

We expected the score to be about 10 points higher, but this state tournament showdown unfolded more or less like we had figured -- veteran Linden doing just enough to keep the Cardinals at arm's length. Thoughts:

-- Desmond Wade is in a class by himself. The Linden senior had to deal with ball pressure from Plainfield's three guards all night and barely made a mistake (I think he made one bad pass and took one bad shot -- no exaggeration). When the game got tight in the final three minutes he did everything right. And his defense on Anthony Baskerville (3 points) was off the charts. He had a great line afterward that summed it up perfectly: "They'll be good in the future, but I think this is my time, my year."

-- Plainfield freshman Tyrone Johnson was the Cardinals' best player, scoring 15 points, handling with poise and playing tough on the defensive end. "Smooth" is the best way to describe Johnson.

-- This was the best defense we've seen Plainfield play in three years.

-- Ultimately the difference was 6-9 Linden junior David Bruce (18 points, 17 boards). Few teams are equipped to deal with him, and Plainfield isn't one of them. Maybe Piscataway's big, strong front line will have more success in the final.

-- The gym was sold out 30 minutes before tip-off. When I got there at 6 there was already a line of about 100 people outside. Among those watching was Seton Hall assistant Scotty Adubato. The Pirates like Plainfield sophomore Isaiah Epps, who had a terrific season but was cold from the outside last night. I had the pleasure of sitting next to two of my favorite people: former Elizabeth coaches Bob Firestone and Tim McManus. Spend two hours with these guys and you walk away with a lot of good stories and a little more wisdom.

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