It was the second game of the Southridge regional, and we were ready to finally see Joey Hart and the very impressive Linton Miners in person. We had talked about covering their games before but always had obligations elsewhere. Finally, the time came, but unbeknownst to us we would come away impressed with another squad, one we knew very little about, The Providence Pioneers. Providence would go on to upset the 22-5 Miners, who were beating opponents by an average of 18 points, 50-47 in what would turn out to be the best game of the tourney.
Here’s How It All Went Down
Linton definitely had the size and length advantage and employed it early with an attacking 2-3 zone anchored by 6’5 guard Braden Walters. Walters used his impressive wingspan to cause havoc on the Pioneers and force them into poor contested shots. In fact both teams were cold early on as we wouldnt get our first bucket for over two minutes of game time. Providence had definitely been studying their scouting reports as they were hounding Miner star Joey Hart. The Pioneers would not let him catch the ball and when they did they forced him into tough contested jumpers or fouled him and made him earn his points at the charity stripe. The Pioneers finally began to figure out the Miners’ zone and were able to draw the defense in and then kick out for some beatiful 3 pointers from sophomore combo guard Quentin Hesse. In fact, had it not been for early foul trouble I would wager that Hesse might have gone off for 30 the way he was shooting the rock. Providence would have the lead at the end of the first 15-12,
Linton would come roaring back in the second quarter behind 6’4 junior Logan Webb. With all the attention being paid to Joey Hart, Webb was able to show Providence that he could ball as well. At one point in the second quarter Webb scored nine points in under a minute with two sweet 3’s from deep and a gritty put back and 1 that would revitalize Linton’s entire squad. Linton would take the lead going into the half 26-23 by outscoring Providence 14-8 in the second quarter. 13 of those points coming from Webb himself.
Linton was able to come out and jump on the Pioneers early in the 3rd regaining the lead and showing an impressive 1-3-1 trapping zone that caused Providence some early trouble. The Pioneers would quickly figure this out however and began to dissect the Miners defense for some easy buckets. Braden Walters picked up his 3rd foul just over 2 minutes in and had to sit early. One has to wonder how this game would have gone if Walters could have stayed out of foul trouble. He was definetly the floor general for this Linton squad and they just weren’t the same without him on the floor. Providence would use this advantage to go on a nice run and regain the lead and hold onto it for the remainder of the 3rd quarter.
The 4th Quarter is Where Things Got Really Interesting.
Linton came out in the 4th with a renewed sense of urgency and pounced on Providence early on. They finally ran a set for Joey Hart who came up big with a sick back door alley-oop finish. The Miners were staunch on defense and were pushing the ball after every miss getting some easy transition buckets. Linton could not or would not step on the throats of the Pioneers however, letting them hang around. This would prove deadly for the Miners. Providence swithced up to a trapping man to man full court press and sped up Linton into some costly mistakes. Senior combo guard Tyler Simmons would lead the Pioneers to take back the advantage 44-42 with 3:19 left to go. In true Hoosier Hysteria Fashion the lead would bounce back between both squads and end up tied at 47 all with just 38.8 seconds left. The Pioneers would take the lead 48-47 on a pair of free throws from senior guard Grant Williams. Two more free throws would be added before Linton got the ball for the final shot. The Miners ran a pretty out of bounds play for Hart, but the Pioneers were all over him forcing him to heave a last second 3 that would catch nothing but iron. The celebration was on as the Providence Pioneers escaped with a 50-47 win and the celebration was on.
- Logan Webb – 24
- Joey Hart – 15
- Drew Smith – 7
- Casey Kaelin – 15
- Quentin Hesse – 9
- Tyler Simmons – 9
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