Indianapolis, IND – The beautiful Gainbridge Fieldhouse was packed to the rafters to witness two of the best teams all year in 2A battle for that oh so elusive Indiana High School State Championship. #1 Linton-Stockton faced perhaps their toughest test of the year as they took on the Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian Braves led by former IU standout Matt Roth. What a tale of two halves this one was…
Linton came out ready to play. Logan Webb continued his hot shooting scoring Linton’s first 5 points. Joey Hart also came ready to play as he poured in 5 of his own. The Miners would take a 10-6 lead heading into the first media timeout. Linton’s 1-3-1 half-court pressure D forced the Braves into 2 early turnovers as it has done for so many teams. Blackhawk would keep it within striking distance and after 1 Linton would hold a small lead at 14-11. This one feels as if it’s going to be a classic already.
The teams would trade buckets to start out the second quarter, that is until Joey Hart decided to take over. Joey would score 7 straight to push the Miners lead to 10 at the under 4 media timeout. Blackhawk simply has no answer at this point. The Miners are getting into their sets and to their spots with relative ease. And they have a kid, some of you may know, by the name of Joey Hart. This young man is a phenomenal basketball player and relishes the big time atmosphere. Joey would have 18 of the Miner’s 29 halftime points. He was simply unstoppable early. Linton would lead in almost every statistical category in the first half. They shot 40% from the field, 56% from three, and 80% at the line. They would hold a slight edge in rebounds and assists as well. This team was ready for the big stage and it showed.
Both teams would come out a bit sluggish to start off the second half. After a barn burner of a first half Hart would cool a bit, but Blackhawk was unable to capitalize as they themselves would come out cold. At the 3rd quarter media timeout Blackhawk was shooting an abysmal 30% from the field and only 20% from three. This is not going to win many high level basketball games, especially against a team as good as the Miners. This would change in an instant however, as all of a sudden Blackhawk would reel off 6 straight to cut the lead to 4 forcing a Linton timeout. These Braves have no quit in them and Linton suddenly couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Blackhawk would go on a 10-0 run to tie it all back up at 33 a piece. Linton would go on a 3:38 second scoring drought before a Braden Walters buzzer beating lay in to end the quarter. This has turned into a game. Blackhawk roared back in the third quarter, but Linton still held on to the lead, barely. Score after 3, Miners 35, Braves 33.
The 4th quarter would start off just as the third ended with the momentum firmly in the hands of the Blackhawks. Sophomore phenom Kellen Pickett would begin to take over and use his lentghy 6’8 frame to go over and through the Miners D. The Braves would finally take the lead 36-35 with just under 6 to play. Linton just couldn’t put the ball in the hole. Junior guard Aiden Muldoon would put the Braves up 4 with a big 3, but Joey Hart would answer with two big free throws, his first points of the second half. At the final media timeout Blackhawk would lead by 2 39-37. Jimmy Davidson would score on a nifty little runner to put the Braves back up 4, and Pickett would add 2 free throw to go up 6. Joey Hart finally knock down a 3 and a huge one at that, to cut it back to 3 with a little over a minute to go. It would become a game of free throws from here on out and FW Blackhawk seemingly had ice in their veins as they were able to knock in most of them. Fort Wayne Blackhawk would win the 2A State Championship 52-45. Linton would come up just short yet again.
Players of the Game
Kellen Picket – FW Blackhawk – 19 pts. 9 reb. 4 ast.
Joey Hart – Linton-Stockton 23 pts.