Pioneers hit 14-20 free throws after power outage causes 1 hour, 15 minute delay
PAOLI, Ind. – With Eli Coker and Griffin Libs leading the way, Providence hit 14 of 20 free throw attempts in the final 2:07 of the game to hold off Linton-Stockton 50-44 in the final of the boys’ Class 2-A Paoli Regional tournament Saturday night.
The game was interrupted by a power outage in Paoli with 4:27 left in the fourth quarter. Officials evacuated the darkened gym and there was talk of a Monday finish – but the lights flickered back on after 40 minutes and play resumed 75 minutes after it was halted.
Up 34-23 when the lights went out, Providence looked to regain some of the momentum it had enjoyed early in the game when play restarted. That’s not how it turned out. Linton-Stockton got a 3-pointer from Jacob Clothier to make it 34-26, and the Miners pulled to within five at 36-31 with 2:33 left in the game.
Libs got the Pioneers rolling in the final minutes with a defensive rebound – he was fouled and hit both free throws to make it 38-31 with 2:07 remaining.
Coker stepped up after that. From the 1:08 mark to 29.9 seconds, he hit 7 of 8 free throws as the Pioneers withstood a trio of 3-pointers and a 3-point play by the Miners in the final minute. With Providence up 48-44, Libs hit two free throws with 3.4 seconds left to make the final margin.
“The mental toughness that they’ve developed over the year has been phenomenal,” Providence coach Andrew Grantz said of his team.
Providence got off to a furious start, leading 13-0 after a field goal and a three-pointer by Libs with 56 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
To put an exclamation point on how the first quarter went for the Pioneers, Linton-Stockton had a desperation heave with five seconds left in the quarter, the ball hit the backboard and into Sam Conrad’s hands. Conrad then sank a bank shot 3-pointer from mid-court at the buzzer to put Providence on top 16-0.
Linton-Stockton finally got on the board when Joshua Dieball hit a driving shot to make it 16-2 at the 7:16 mark of the second quarter – but the Miners continued to struggle. A block by Libs led to a field goal by Coker to make it 25-6 with a minute left in the half.
Linton-Stockton closed out the half with a 4-0 run – including two technical foul free throws by Tyler Meurer with 3.1 seconds left – to trail 25-10 at the break.
Despite a double digit lead, the Pioneers weren’t out of the woods. Linton-Stockton cut the deficit to seven (27-20) after a 3-point play by Meurer with 3:07 left in the third quarter.
This time it was Providence that closed strong, two free throws by Alex Judd and a field goal by Landon Sprigler helped the Pioneers to a 31-21 lead going into the fourth quarter and 34-23 when the lights went out.
Providence (19-7) advances to the semi-state and will face Indianapolis Howe (22-7) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Richmond.
For the game, Libs scored 12 points and Coker added 11 to lead Providence. Linton-Stockton (23-5), ranked No. 6 in the final Class 2-A poll, was paced by Josh Dieball’s 15 points, Clothier added 14.
CLASS 2-A PAOLI REGIONAL
Providence (19-7): Morris 6, Judd 4, Libs 12, Betz 4, Conrad 4, Sprigler 7, Coker 11, Ebert 2.
Linton-Stockton (23-5): Josh Dieball 15, Woods 1, Meurer 6, Joe Dieball 4, Clothier 14, Jackson 4.
3-point goals: Libs 1, Conrad 1, Clothier 4, Josh Dieball 2.