Another Friday night, and another amazing southern Indiana basketball game. 2A #1 Linton-Stockton squeaked by 1A #2 Bloomfield 42-41 in a rivalry game that lived up to the hype and then some.
The Miners came out hot early and jumped on the Cardinals forcing them to call a timeout within the first couple minutes. Joey Hart is a problem for most teams and was the catalyst to Linton’s early success in this one. He scored 11 of his game high 21 in the first quarter. After that early timeout though Bloomfield was able to calm down a bit and get back into the game. The Cardinals were able to get the ball down to their 6’8 senior forward Peter Combs for 6 first quarter points. The Cardinals also got a couple timely 3’s from freshman guard Blake Neill and senior guard Hank Skomp. Bloomfield was able to weather the early storm from Hart and the Miners and at the end of 1, were only trailing by 3 at 17-14.
The second quarter was a different story however, as Linton would begin to use their size and athleticism to bother the Cardinals into some turnovers which led to easy buckets on the other end. Linton deployed a vicious 1-2-2 halfcourt trap with very lengthy 6’5 guard Braden Walters at the point. Bloomfield would have trouble simply getting passes around the long arms of Walters and would only score 5 in the second quarter. Hart would continue to be a major thorn in the Cardinals side as he poured in 5 of the Miners 12 in the second. Going into the half Linton would take a commanding 29-19 lead.
The third quarter was fairly even as neither team could really get anything going on the offensive side of the ball. This would continue into the 4th. That is, until the final couple of minutes. Linton became lazy with the ball and were turned over on multiple occasions in the final 2 minutes. Bloomfield was able to capitalize on these turnovers and March right back into the game. Blake Neill hit two three’s and Hank Skomp added another in the final moments to bring the Miners lead to only one with just a few seconds left. Bloomfield had the ball with just a few seconds left and got a good shot but could not knock it in and Linton was able to sneak by with the win.
For 3 and a half quarters Linton showed why they are ranked #1 in the state in 2A. The three headed attack of Joey Hart, Braden Walters, and Logan Webb are a force to be reckoned with and Linton’s size and athleticism will give a lot of teams, regardless of class, a lot of trouble. They will however, need to be able to put teams away in the end and not let a very good team like Bloomfield hang in there. This game could very well have had a different outcome if just one more shot would have fallen for Bloomfield.
Joey Hart led all scorers with 21. Logan Webb dropped in 7 and Nathan Frady added 6 for the Miners.
The Cardinals were led in scoring by Hank Skomp with 10. Blake Neill and Peter Combs had 9 and 8 respectively.