If Linsly is to reach its goal of being the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class 3-A boys' basketball champions, every game the remainder of the season is crucial.
The Cadets (8-7) took the first step Monday night by completing a regular-season sweep of Shadyside with a gut-check, 56-47, victory on the Tigers' boards.
"This was a win that got us over .500," Linsly head coach James Wallace said. "Every game from here on out is really important for us to achieve our goal of being OVAC champions.
"Hopefully, we learned some things tonight as far as coming out and playing a little harder and with some more intensity.
"Give Shadyside credit because they forced us into some situations that we weren't used to seeing," he added. "Coach (Ed) Andes always has his team ready to play."
Linsly never trailed in the contest, which was deadlocked at 8-all before the visitors went on a 7-2 run to take a 15-10 lead after one quarter.
Jibri Blount, a 6-6 tower of strength in the middle, scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the opening frame, including an offensive putback just ahead of the buzzer.
"We really went into Jibri against (Austin) Dorris trying to wear him out," Wallace explained of Blount's early success. "Jibri responded well. He's been playing better for us down the stretch."
The Cadets led by nine twice in the second period, but Shadyside kept plugging away and trailed 26-20 at the half.
Both teams netted 14 points in the third stanza as the visitors held a 40-34 advantage with eight minutes remaining.
Capitalizing on a couple of early Linsly turnovers, the Tigers went on a 6-2 spurt to pull to within four, 44-40, with 5:25 left as Austin Dorris knocked down a pair of free throws.
However, Linsly's Colton Coss, who had been silent all night, pumped in a three-pointer from the right wing that bumped the count to 47-40 and seemed to take the wind out of Shadyside's sails.
"He picked an interesting time to hit his first shot of the night," Wallace admitted. "It wasn't exactly how we drew it up, or how he's hit them in the past, but we'll take it."
The Tigers could never get closer than eight in the closing minutes despite having various good opportunities.
"We had a lot of good looks," Andes said. "This time around I can't fault the kids' effort. We competed tonight. We didn't do that at their place earlier this season.
"I can't complain," Andes continued. "To hold that bunch under 60 at our place, that's a good effort."
The Tigers were their worst enemy in the fourth quarter as they misfired on 13 of 17 shots from the floor and bricked six of 11 free throws.
Toddy Goodwin-Rowe backed Blount's game-high point total with 14. High-scoring Anthony Wallace was held to seven.
Dorris led a trio of double-digit scorers for the Orange with 16. Adam Stupak added a dozen and Ryan Richardson contributed 10.
Linsly led 47-36 off the glass as Blount claimed game honors with 15. Wallace had 11. Stupak grabbed nine for Shadyside. Dorris added seven.
The Cadets were guilty of 19 turnovers, five more than the Tigers.
Shadyside won the JV game.
LINSLY (56) - Seymour 2 0-0 4; Wallace 3 1-2 7; Coss 1 0-0 3; Goodwin-Rowe 5 3-4 14; Blount 9 1-3 20; Hamilton 2 2-4 6; Idowu 1 0-0 2; Johnson 0 0-0 0; Griffin 0 0-0 0; Totals: 23-53 7-13. SHADYSIDE (47) - Stupak 5 1-5 12; Dorris 6 4-5 16; Brooks 0 0-2 0; Gibson 0 1-2 1; Richardson 5 0-0 10; Frizzi 2 0-0 5; Nardo 1 1-2 3; Totals: 19-57 7-16.
Three-Point Goals: Linsly 3 (Blount, Coss, Goodwin-Rowe); Shadyside 2 (Frizzi, Stupak)
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org