Many people are waiting for Conference championships this weekend, as many basketball fans' fancy turns to the NCAA tournament-- and the Final Four. However, one team-- and one town-- has its mind on something else... redemption in a different Final Four.
The Linton Miners are no strangers to the state's Final Four-- in football. However, it has not been successful in the semi-final step toward winning the Class A football title. It has won Regional-- in effect, state quarterfinal-- football matchups three times since 2004. Each time the Semi-State-- or the Final Four-- has been its final resting place. Each time, the game has been close-- an overtime loss on a blocked extra point to tie; a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter that evaporated; and earlier this school year, a second half lead that vanished into the ether.
But Austin Karaszia and Company have a chance to redeem all those memories... on the basketball court. After as up and down a season as anyone can have while being 23-3, the Miners put it together following a home loss to Clay City. That loss seemed to galvanize the team, because after that, they have played some of their best ball of the year. Whatever Joey Hart said after that loss seemed to work, because here they are-- traveling to faraway Richmond to play Speedway in the 2A Semi-State. The Sparkplugs are 21-4, inside a city within a city on the northwest side of Indianapolis.
The Linton Miners may be playing Speedway, but a Miner win would put them on the fast track toward a state title-- and a little redemption. Football might be Linton's calling card-- but basketball is Indiana's sport. And this year, the round ball may take the Miners to a place the oval one has never seen before. Good luck to Linton at the Tiernan Center on Saturday.
That's my take... I'm Tom Lee.