Braves fall to Miners at buzzer, 63-61

Feb. 13—"The fundamentals of the game play a big part," coach Matt Britton of Linton said Tuesday night, moments after those fundamentals had failed both teams in a spectacular high school basketball ending.

Visiting Terre Haute South, battling back the entire second half, took its first lead since the first quarter when a long rebound bounced to Treva Branch, who nailed a 3-pointer with 13.7 seconds left to put the Braves ahead 61-60.

At the other end, Paul Oliver of the Miners — who had been muscling his way through the South defense all game long — did so again, only to miss a short jumper from the lane. This time, a second or third rebound wound up in the hands of Hayden Feltner, who passed to Jackson Miller for a turnaround, banked 3-pointer at the buzzer that gave the Miners a 63-61 win.

"From the angle I had, I knew it was going in," South coach Maynard Lewis said after the game.

"You work every day in practice on blocking out," Britton said in explaining his first statement, "and then [the Braves] get a couple of offensive rebounds, and at the other end we do the same thing."

"An unfortunate break again," said Lewis. "We had our opportunities."

South had trailed since Miller closed out the first quarter with two free throws — his only points of the game until that final shot. That made the score 11-9 in the home team's favor, and when Oliver put together a personal 7-0 run in the second period the Miners had an 11-point lead at 29-18.

Then the Braves came inching back.

After a 33-25 halftime lead, Linton had its last double-figure advantage at 37-27 early in the third quarter, but by the end of that period South had pulled within 47-43, Branch closing out that period with another trey.

It was 53-45 early in the fourth quarter when, in a span of a few seconds, South's Zay Baker got two baskets and followed that with his fourth foul. Linton kept eight-point leads at 57-49, 59-51 and 60-52, but the game wasn't over.

"South made a great run in the fourth quarter," Britton said later. "Their kids made some big shots, rebounded well and guarded us well."

A layup by Jaylen Wells made it 60-54 and Wells' outlet pass to Chris Herrin for a layup cut the lead to 60-56 with 1:22 remaining.

South thought it had a steal but the referee didn't agree, resulting in a technical foul. But the Miners missed both free throws.

Wells did steal the ball and made a layup for a 60-58 score — and again Linton went 0 for 2 at the line. Then came South's final possession, and Linton's last one.

"Linton is a tough place to play," said Lewis, giving the impression that he felt his team hadn't come tough enough — or energetic enough.

"The [Linton] kids hung in there and kept fighting on the defensive end," said Britton. "I'm proud of them. They gutted it out."

Oliver led all scorers with 29 points. "He's really playing within himself," his coach said after the game. "One of the better players in the Wabash Valley."

Conner Daily added 16 points for the Miners, while Feltner quietly had seven points, a team-leading six rebounds and three assists.

Wells led South's balanced attack with 14 points and also had a game-high 12 rebounds, while Herrin scored 12 and Baker had 11 points plus a game-high seven assists.

Those numbers probably won't mean a thing Wednesday afternoon.

"We've got a lot of things to work on, but we'll get there," Lewis concluded.

"Practice will be super-intense tomorrow."

TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (61) — Morgan 2-5 1-2 6, Herrin 5-8 2-4 12, Wells 7-10 0-0 14, Baker 4-12 2-2 11, Wilson 2-4 0-0 5, Boyce 2-5 0-0 4, Branch 3-9 0-0 9. Totals 25-55 FG, 5-8 FT, 61 TP.

LINTON (63) — Oliver 11-20 5-7 29, Daily 8-17 0-1 16, Smith 3-6 0-2 6, Miller 1-4 2-4 5, Feltner 3-4 1-1 7, Keen 0-0 0-0 0, Webster 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-51 FG, 8-15 FT, 63 TP.

TH South 9 16 18 18 — 61

Linton 11 22 14 16 — 63

3-point shooting — THS 6-14 (Branch 3-6, Morgan 1-1, Wilson 1-3, Baker 1-4), Linton 3-8 (Oliver 2-3, Miller 1-3, Daily 0-2). Total fouls — THS 18, Linton 9. Fouled out — none. Technical foul — South bench. Turnovers — THS 9, Linton 9. Rebounds — THS 33 (Wells 12, Herrin 5, Morgan 3, Branch 3, Baker 2, Wilson, Boyce, Team 6), Linton 32 (Feltner 6, Miller 5, Oliver 4, Daily 4, Smith 4, Keen 2, Team 7). Assists — THS 17 (Baker 7, Wilson 3, Wells 2, Branch 2, Morgan, Herrin, Boyce), Linton 14 (Miller 4, Oliver 3, Feltner 3, Keen 3, Daily). Steals — THS 5 (Wells 2, Baker 2, Morgan), Linton 6 (Smith 2, Oliver, Daily, Miller, Feltner). Blocks — THS 1 (Wells), Linton 2 (Oliver, Daily).

JV — Terre Haute South 52 (Mayson Lewis 9, Daimen Sandifer 8, Tre Lewis 8, Rutledge 7), Linton 25 (Collin Webster 14).

Next — Both teams will have conference games Friday, Terre Haute South (9-10) at home against Southport and Linton (16-4) at North Central.