In a game full of streaks, regardless of the sport, it’s always best to have the last one.
Linton's No. 10-ranked Miners closed out the Class 2A Sectional 47 championship game on a 12-3 run at North Knox High School on Saturday night to record a 47-41 win over No. 5-ranked Sullivan — giving the Miners their first sectional championship in 31 years.
The Miners advance to Saturday’s regional tourney at Southridge, and do so in spite of themselves. Coach Joey Hart’s team committed a turnover on the first five possessions of the second half and had 13 turnovers in the final 16 minutes, yet escaped with the win by holding Sullivan to only one field goal in the final 5:26 of the game.
“Our kids really competed,” Hart said. “It’s a great team, not a coach’s win. It’s great for our community and for these kids — they’ve worked unbelievably hard this year and it’s great to see it pay off for them.”
Linton led 13-11 at the first stop thanks to a 3-pointer by Bryant Jackson late in the period.
Jackson added five more second-quarter points as the Miners extended their lead to 26-17 at halftime.
Sullivan’s Jake Kinnaman got in early foul trouble and sat out a lot of the first half, as the Golden Arrows opened the game in a triangle-and-two defense designed to stop Miner senior standouts Austin Karazsia and Dess Fougerousse.
Jackson, Keith Fulk and Jackson Bohnert combined for 17 points to thwart that strategy.
“Our so-called ‘role players’ came through big time for us,” Hart said. “Sullivan is a great third quarter team, and we knew their junk defenses were over. We knew they were going to come and get us, and they did.”
Sullivan opened the second half by scoring the first 10 points while the Miners were in their turnover rut and took a 27-26 lead with 5:39 left in the period. Five Fougerousse points helped Linton to take a 35-33 lead entering the final period.
To continue the seesaw margin, Sullivan scored the first five points of the final period for a 38-35 lead with 5:26 left in the game. The Arrows would manage only a Brooks Weszely trey the rest of the way, while Fougerousse took over for the winners.
The 6-5 workhorse had a basket, a pair of free throws, and another basket to put Linton ahead to stay, then converted a 3-point play with 1:47 left that iced it.
Sullivan still trailed by 5 with 32.3 seconds left and had the ball, but an inadvertent whistle caused an alternating possession that gave the ball to the Miners. Bohnert added a late free throw to account for the final score.
Fougerousse had 17 points and Karazsia 13 to lead Linton-Stockton, while Jackson added 10.
Sullivan — with no seniors on its roster and the early 2014 sectional favorite — was led by Kinnaman with 11. The Golden Arrows had won 14 straight games since the semifinals.
SULLIVAN (41) – Pirtle 2 0-0 5, Gregory 1 0-0 2, Kinnaman 5 1-1 11, Hutchcraft 3 0-0 6, Weszely 3 2-4 9, Willis 2 0-0 5, King 1 0-0 3, Perkinson 0 0-0 0, McPhail 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 FG, 3-5 FT, 41 TP
LINTON-STOCKTON (47) – Karazsia 5 3-3 13, Fougerousse 5 7-10 17, Fulk 1 0-0 2, Jackson 4 1-2 10, Bohnert 2 1-2 5, Riddell 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 FG, 12-17 FT, 47 TP
Sullivan 11 6 16 8 – 41
Linton-Stockton 13 13 9 12 – 47
3-point goals – Pirtle, Weszely, Willis, King, Jackson 2.