Rivet's length in its zone defense took away some of what Linton was trying to do on Thursday, but the Class 2A No. 1 Miners more than made up for it from the 3-point line.
Linton drained 11 three-pointers, led by Vanessa Shafford's four, and the Miners never trailed in handing the Patriots a 51-26 girls basketball defeat at Holscher Gym.
Meredith Weiss led Rivet (10-4) with 11 points, but the stingy Linton defense, which averages under 33 points allowed per game, didn't allow another double figure scorer. Maddi Halter was next for the Patriots with six points. Shafford finished with game-highs of 18 points and eight rebounds, while Haley Rose scored 14, and Aubrey Burgess nine for Linton (14-1).
The Miners were an impressive 42 percent (11-of-26) from long range, but at one point early in the third they were netting a staggering 64 percent (9-14).
“We've had trouble covering the 3-point shot throughout the season, but (Linton) can shoot it deep,” Rivet coach Rick Marshall said. “Our girls have nothing to hold their heads about. We came out and battled, and they're a good, talented ball club. But I couldn't be more pleased with how hard they played.”
Linton scored right off the opening tip-off, but Halter drove straight to the other end off the ensuing inbounds pass to immediately tie it at two, a play that Marshall said set the tone for his team's intensity. The Miners netted 4-of-7 threes in the period to take a 16-8 advantage after one.
Two more trifectas stretched Linton's lead to 22-10 before Rivet had its best offensive stretch. Weiss scored five in a row, and she hit 1-of-2 free throws to get it within 23-16 with 3:13 left in the half. The Miners countered with the final six points of the half to take a 29-16 lead into intermission.
“We matched their intensity, and I was pleased with the effort in the first half,” Marshall said. “They're deeper, and that makes a difference when you can rest your stars a bit. But we had five steals and seven turnovers in the first half, so we handled their pressure better than I thought we might. We had a few errant passes, but that's going to happen against that kind of pressure.
“Maddi set the tone for us. When they scored on that tip play, and then Maddi went down and drove by everybody (to the basket). That kind of said, OK, we're going to play you. We're not just going to sit back and take (a loss).”
Rose opened the second half with a 3-pointer. A Halter hoop and an Anna Herman free throw got the deficit back down to 13, but Rose followed with another 3 that made it 35-19 with 6:12 showing. That was the trifecta that took the Miners to 64 percent 3-point shooting.
Linton cooled off from outside after that, but managed to get more looks in the lane, especially by grabbing four of its seven offensive rebounds in the stanza. The Miners finished the quarter with an 11-2 spurt to take their lead to 47-23.
Linton ran off the majority of the final 4:30, allowing Rivet just one possession, as Burgess and Shafford took turns driving into the lane and pulling it back out.
Linton, the reigning 2A state champion, is the clear favorite in the North Knox Sectional, which features the Patriots, host Warriors and South Knox. The Miners took out all three last year, beating Rivet, 51-39, which was much tighter than their regular-season meeting, a 65-43 Linton victory.
“I told (Linton coach Jared Rehmel) that if we kick you guys out, it'd be a highly competitive sectional,” Marshall joked. “I'm not sure what you do exactly, but we have to find a little wrinkle up our sleeves and try something. The big thing tonight was, we wanted to get some video of them, and now we'll have a chance to look through it, get a read on them, and try to get better.”
Linton took the junior varsity game, 31-13. Reese McBee scored eight for Rivet (4-6) and Kenzie Willis five.
The Patriots visit Barr-Reeve at noon Saturday.
LINTON 51, RIVET 26
Rose (f) 4-8 3-6 14, Warrick (f) 1-3 0-0 2, Hayes (g) 1-3 0-0 3, Burgess (g) 3-8 1-2 9, Shafford (g) 7-14 0-0 18, C. Chambers 1-4 0-0 3, Thuis 0-0 0-0 0, B. Chambers 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 18-43 4-8 51.
Weiss (f) 3-11 4-6 11, Carie (f) 1-3 0-0 2, A. Herman (c) 0-4 1-2 1, Gerkin (g) 2-4 0-0 4, Halter (g) 3-6 0-1 6, K. Herman 0-1 0-0 0, Frey 1-2 0-0 2, A. McGuire 0-0 0-0 0, Willis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-31 5-9 51.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Linton |16-13-18-4 — 51
Rivet |8-8-7-3 — 26
3-pointers: Linton 11-26 (Shafford 4-6, Rose 3-5, Burgess 2-6, Hayes 1-3, C.Chambers 1-4, B.Chambers 0-2), Rivet 1-10 (Weiss 1-4, Gerkin 0-1, K.Herman 0-1, Frey 0-1, Halter 0-3). Rebounds: Linton 24 (Shafford 8), Rivet 16 (A.Herman 5). Turnovers: Linton 11, Rivet 14. Fouls: Linton 13, Rivet 8. JV: Linton 31-13.