Linton senior Joey Hart (left) and Bloomfield senior Peter Combs will play their final home game Friday.
It’s been a special winter in Greene County with Linton and Bloomfield locking down the No. 1 rankings in two of the four classes in our state. Like all winters, they eventually end. Just like the home slates for Greene County’s powerhouse basketball teams. Friday is the final time you can see Linton’s senior class and Bloomfield’s senior class play at home.
This was the first season since class basketball began about a quarter century ago where Greene County had two No. 1 teams. It has been a memorable ride for both programs. Holding onto the No. 1 spot for as long as they have this season is hard to do so. Reaching the final of the Wabash Valley Classic is hard as well.
It’s why Friday is a special night for fans of 22-1 Linton and 20-3 Bloomfield. It’s strange to have one best seniors classes out of both schools be just 20 minutes apart from each other in the same season. That’s exactly what occurred.
Linton was easy to predict. Joey Hart has been the most recruited player from the school in any sport. His standing as an Indiana All-Star is just waiting for the official press release at this point.
Logan Webb will be honored Friday night too and will be missed greatly by the Miners next season as well. It’s easy to think what type of numbers Webb would have if he was on another team but what about Linton would like without Webb? Defenses that focus on Hart do so knowing Webb can burn them too. The Miners would not be a title threat without him. In the regional loss to Southwestern two years ago, Webb shot 2-7 from the field and 1-4 from the line in a game Linton lost by one point. Today, Webb is so far beyond those stats it’s like the Southwestern game did not happen.
There is Nathan Frady, a player who is one of the most improved seniors in the area. Basketball is not his main sport but you would not know it by watching him. A season ago, I remember Coach Joey Hart telling Frady to not shoot the ball when he was wide open for a corner three. This season, Linton fans are comfortable with Frady shooting.
Wrigley Franklin and Hunter Gennicks, two seniors who led the football team, have made an impact on basketball too.
There are teams around here that Jaxon Walker would be the leading scorer on. At Linton, he is important depth.
It’s six seniors Linton fans will remember for a long time no matter what happens in March.
For Bloomfield, its senior class is a bit of a surprise.
Two years ago, Peter Combs had just three points in a sectional loss to North Central. Watching Combs this year, it feels like that performance came when he was in the fifth grade. Bloomfield has gone from a team that had trouble getting their big man touches to a team that is carried by Combs no matter what defenses do. At a recent game, I stood next to a small college coach who wanted Combs on his team badly.
Bloomfield senior Justin Beard is one of my personal favorites. I remember watching him hit five threes in a quarter against WRV last season and thought he could never miss. Beard helped put Bloomfield on the map for soccer and I hope basketball fans can see his effort on the court too.
There is Brett Sherrard, a future college baseball player at Butler, and has given the Cards added scoring it missed a season ago. Watching Sherrard this season, I am fairly certain the team would have won state a season ago had he had been healthy.
Hank Skomp is a player every team needs. Sports writer Bill Simmons calls players like Skomp, “the irrational confidence guy,” No joke, I think have seen Skomp be scoreless in the first half of a game and then find an offensive explosion in the second half multiple times. Teams focus on Combs and the many shooters Bloomfield has and that leaves Skomp with great chances in crunch time. Skomp handles the pressure of big moments far better than the average high school student.
Brasey Neill has not played many minutes his senior year but I know he will be needed for a key stretch this postseason. The Cardinals do not play a deep rotation and is vulnerable to foul trouble.
Now that I’ve seen three basketball seasons in Greene County, this is the first senior class I have seen develop overtime. What a ride it has been. Two No. 1 teams in our county with less population than an Indianapolis suburb. It might be a long time before it happens again. These groups of seniors might be a passing comet that only comes around once a century. It’s why Friday night is a night for the community to tell these seniors “Thank you.”
Nathan Pace is the Sports Editor of the Greene County Daily World and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His “Low Budget Sports Show,” airs weekly on Facebook Live.