ELNORA, IN – The #1 (2A) Linton Miners only led twice in the entire game against the the #3 (3A) North Daviess Cougars, it was the opening score of the contest and the game winner with 2.7 seconds left. Joey Hart supplied the heroics with a clutch 15 footer in front of an explosive crowd, making the final score 47-45 Linton.
It was a tough start for Linton Stockton. With only three scorers in the first half, the Miners had a tough time adjusting to the Cougars relentless ball pressure. Linton was unable find answers through UCF commit Hart, who struggled to find his range early, going 1-3 from three-pointer’s in the first quarter.
North Daviess handled the Miners opening 1-3-1 zone, going on a 12-2 run and taking the lead 18-6, before pushing to a 21-12 score to end the first quarter. North Daviess were able to display their diversity in scoring with four different players making three-pointers in the first quarter.
“In that 1-3-1 trap, they hit everything coming out. They hit a lot of shots.” said Linton Interim Head Coach, Noah Hawkins.
The Miners were able to make up some ground in the second quarter, scoring 6 points and limiting the Cougars to 9 points. Linton’s Logan Webb was a thorn all night against the cougars as he hit his second buzzer beater of the night on a put-back, leaving the game a six point differential, 28-22 at half-time.
“Logan Webb was a leader.” said Hawkins. “With coach out he has stepped up, the maturity showed through.”
North Daviess opened the second half on a 5-0 run, backed by a ferocious crowd. Webb had the answer with a three pointer making the score 33-26. From there, it was a back and forth ballgame that saw Joey Hart break out of his first half slump.
“I wasn’t hitting shots, but I knew it couldn’t last long.” said Hart. “I had to make shots to win, and halfway through the fourth quarter I started making some.”
Basketball is a game of runs, and in the second half, that’s exactly what the Miners relied on to rally back for a close fourth quarter. The Cougars seemed to be in control heading into the final stretch of the game, taking a 10 point lead at the start of the fourth quarter. However, in the final six minutes, Linton’s defense proved too much to handle for the Cougars. North Daviess turned the ball over 3 out of their last 4 possessions, resulting in four transition points for the Miners.
Hart got his time to shine in the form of 9 points in the final six minutes and eventually, the 15-foot pull-up jumper to take the lead, 47-45 with 2.7 seconds left.
“You’re not gonna keep him (Hart) down the whole game, you know? He’s just too good.” said Hawkins. “He’s one of the best players, if not, sometimes the best player in the State of Indiana, you can’t guard him the whole game.”
The final play saw the Cougars inbound the ball to Logan Wilson, who passed to Mullen. On the run, Mullen got off a three pointer that rattled out of the basket, giving the Miners the win and taking the lead of the all time series between the two, 28-27.
“It feels great, they took it from us last year, and I wanted to come back and win this one.” said Hart. “It was fun, lots of people showed up, and it was a packed house.”
Hart led all scorers with 25 points and Logan Webb (Linton) had 16 points. North Daviess was led by Lance Wilson with 15 points, followed by Mullen (11 points) and Logan Wilson (8 points.)