News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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January 11, 2014

Linton's double-overtime win over WRV highlight of Greene County Invitational

SWITZ CITY — Three of the four opening-round high school basketball games in the Greene County Invitational featured teams with winning records against teams with losing records, and those went as expected when they were finally played on Saturday at White River Valley.

But the tournament opener between two winning teams proved to be a classic, a 58-56, double-overtime thriller in which Linton overcame the host Wolverines, and Monday’s 6 p.m. semifinals should be more of the same. Linton meets Eastern Greene, a 68-55 winner over North Central, while Bloomfield and Clay City play each other after the Cardinals ousted Union 61-42 and the Eels held off Shakamak 55-41.

No consolation-bracket games will be played in the tournament that was originally scheduled to start Tuesday. The third-place and championship games are this coming Tuesday.

The beauty of the Greene County Invitational is the familiarity its teams and coaches have with each other, and White River Valley proved that by playing the Miners better than most of Linton’s Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic opponents did a couple of weeks ago.

“We know all their stuff and they know all our stuff,” coach Joey Hart of the Miners summarized after Saturday’s opener.

With their 3-point shooting on fire early, the Wolverines had a quick 8-3, let the Miners get closer, then went on a 14-4 run to take an 11-point lead at 25-14 late in the second quarter.

The margin was still 11 when Linton center Zach Riddell hit a 3-pointer to close out the first half, and that started a 13-0 run for the Miners. After that were four ties and three lead changes in the third period, a tie and six lead changes in the fourth and enough scrambles, loose balls and missed free throws in the final seconds of regulation time to keep the fans enthralled.

White River Valley twice matched Linton baskets in the first extra session, then got the first three points of the second overtime — although missing half of six free throw attempts to do so. Ryan Woodward got two baskets in a row for Linton, putting the Miners ahead to stay with 28 seconds to play.

Woodward and Bryant Jackson had 14 points each and Riddell 13 for the Miners, who also got eight rebounds and eight assists from Joe Dieball. Trey Gamble scored 17, Michael Fisher 14 and Justin Barnett had 10 rebounds for WRV.

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