By Noah Dalton
BICKNELL – After advancing to the second round of sectional play for the first time in 12 years on Wednesday, Mitchell High School’s season came to an end on Friday, after the team was defeated in the semifinal round by #1 ranked 2A team Linton-Stockton, 74-42.
The two teams previously matched up on Dec. 9, where the Miners bested the Bluejackets 71-34. Mitchell entered Friday’s second round matchup looking for a different result, however they were unable to find one.
Linton-Stockton is ranked as the top team in 2A for a reason and they showed it against the Bluejackets, dominating much of the game, led by seniors Logan Webb, who scored 33 and University of Central-Florida commit and one of the state’s top prospects Joey Hart, who scored 21.
Midway through the first was the closest Mitchell had the game, climbing back to within five after the Miners jumped out to an 11-2 lead. Things progressively rolled further away for the Bluejackets from there, as they proceeded to turn the ball over 10 times in the first quarter before finishing the period trailing by 14.
“Slow start for us. A couple of live ball turnovers, they jumped up to that 11-2 lead. I thought from there, we played well and we battled for the rest of the first half. There’s a couple times in transition, didn’t get back, didn’t get matched up quick enough that we’d like to have back. But, offensively with how we’ve handled some of the 1-3-1s or different zones this season, for us to move the basketball, stay aggressive and attack like we did, very satisfied with our offense tonight,” said Mitchell head coach Jackson Ryan. “But that’s a great team. You’ve gotta give them credit. That’s a team that’s going to be playing for a couple of weeks. You know, they have a good chance to, to make it to Gainbridge Fieldhouse and do a lot of special things. They’re the number one team in the state right now for a reason. So, give them credit but really proud with how our kids battled.”
Linton-Stockton continued extending their lead through the third quarter, when they gained a 35-point lead, initiating a running clock with 1:51 left in the period.
Despite the Bluejackets improvement over the last month, where they won four of their last five heading into this game, they simply were no match for the Miners. In fairness to Mitchell though, almost nobody seems to be, as this was the team’s 20th straight victory and their 25th total win of the year. Their only loss thus far came on Dec. 10 to Cooper High School out of Union, KY.
Ryan spoke highly of Linton-Stockton and the success of their program.
“There’s so many things, it’s not just going to be one thing that makes them the number one team in the state but number one, you’ve got to have players and you know, Joey Hart will go on to play Big 12 basketball next year. Logan Webb, he’s gonna go play college basketball somewhere. (Braden) Walters, I mean athletically, he’s maybe pound for pound the best athlete that we’ve seen this year. So you’ve got to have the players to do it. And a lot of that for them is time in the gym and skill development and success breeds success,” Ryan said. “They’ve been on some runs the for the last decade deep into the postseason, and that doesn’t just happen overnight.”
As for the Bluejackets, this loss marks the end of a turbulent season, where they finished with a 7-18 record. Though much of the team will be eligible to suit up and retake the court next year, two players played their final game in a Mitchell uniform; those being Brendan Tolliver, who led the team in scoring on the night with 13, and Owen Modglin.
“My head is definitely with our two seniors. I’m young, I say I’m young, I’m 29 now but the hardest thing that I’ve had to do in my life is when you’re sitting in that locker room and you have to take that jersey off for the last time and you know there’s no tomorrow. You know that that’s it for your high school basketball career and I couldn’t be more proud of Brendan Tolliver and Owen Modglin. To play four years in this program is tough. I mean, it’s not just coming to practice every day and doing these things. We hold these kids accountable in the classroom, behavior, how they handle themselves on and off the floor,” said Ryan.
“So, those that stick around and are committed, like Brendan Tolliver and Owen Modglin, I hate to see them go because they’ve laid such a strong foundation for us to get us to this point, playing our best basketball at the end of the year. To get that first sectional win, they’ve laid the groundwork for potentially a special group next year and I’m just really going to miss having both those guys in our locker room every day,” he continued.
- Dawson Irwin – 8 points, 3/12 shooting, 0/0 FT, 7 rebounds
- Austin Mosier – 0 points, 0/6 shooting, 0/0 FT, 3 rebounds
- Ben Seitzinger – 5 points, 0/0 shooting, 5/5 FT, 3 rebounds
- Kale England – 4 points, 2/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
- Brendan Tolliver – 13 points, 6/12 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds
- Gavin Robinson – 2 points, 1/1 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
- Bryson Shoults – 5 points, 1/2 shooting, 2/2 FT, 1 rebound
- Aiden Pridemore – 3 points, 1/3 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
- Owen Modglin – 2 points, 1/1 shooting, 0/0 FT, 0 rebounds
- Garrett Fleorke – 0 points, 0/0 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
- Braden Walters – 8 points, 4/5 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds
- Logan Webb – 33 points, 15/25 shooting, 0/2 FT, 6 rebounds
- Paul Oliver – 8 points, 4/4 shooting, 0/0 FT, 6 rebounds
- Joey Hart – 21 points, 9/17 shooting, 2/2 FT, 2 rebounds
- Nathan Frady – 4 points, 2/3 shooting, 0/0 FT, 0 rebounds
- Jaxon Walker – 0 points, 0/0 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
- Hunter Gennicks – 0 points, 0/0 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds
- Wrigley Franklin – 0 points, 0/0 shooting, 0/2 FT, 2 rebounds
- Jackson Miller – 0 points, 0/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound