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Blackhawk Christian rallies for third title in five years

Mike Beas, Special to
Posted: March 25, 2023
2022-23 BBB 2A Photo 1
Photo Credit: Double Edge Media @demllc

His face flushed with emotion, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian coach Matt Roth proved powerless against the tears streaming down his face.

Not that he was trying to stop them.

The Braves’ 52-45 victory over Linton-Stockton in the Class 2A championship game on Saturday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the program’s third title in five years, was its first without former head coach Marc Davidson, who lost his battle against cancer in May of 2022.

Blackhawk Christian didn’t win for Davidson.

It prevailed, in large part, because of him.

Thus, Roth, his players and many members of the coaching staff and community have been locked into the front seat of an emotional roller coaster all season.

2022-23 BBB 2A Photo 2
Blackhawk Christian's Kellen Pickett and Linton-Stockton's Nathan Frady (Photo courtesy Double Edge Media @demllc)


“It’s been a losing battle all week,” said Roth, who served as an assistant coach under Davidson, the program’s career wins leader, for three seasons. “Just thinking about the achievement for these guys, how hard they’ve worked, how hungry they’ve been and the adversity they’ve had to endure as young men.

“I’m just so proud of how well they work. How well they love each other. I had it made up in my mind, win or lose, it wasn’t going to change anything about what this group achieved. But it certainly feels good to go out with a win.”

And the Miners, well, they made Blackhawk Christian earn it.

Led by 6-6 senior guard Joey Hart, Linton got comfortable early from long range, building a 29-18 halftime lead with Hart’s point total at intermission matching that of the entire Braves squad.

The second half painted an entirely different picture, however, as the Braves altered their defense, assigning 6-8 sophomore Kellen Pickett and his forever wingspan to shadow Hart whenever the Miners had the basketball.

“It was exciting to guard the best player,” said Pickett. “I was ready for the challenge to step up and help the team.”

Slowly, Blackhawk Christian began cutting into the lead in the third stanza, finally knotting the score at 33-33 after Pickett buried a 3-pointer from the right baseline with 1:16 showing.

The Miners’ Braden Walters worked the baseline for a layup off the glass with 2.7 ticks remaining in the third, briefly swinging the momentum back in Linton’s direction.

Pickett’s hoop in close early in the fourth period put the Braves ahead for good, 36-35; junior backup guard Aiden Muldoon’s triple from the right wing at the 4:15 mark pushed the lead to four points.

With 1:21 remaining, Blackhawk Christian went into the bonus, making five of six 1-and-1 free throw attempts to make it a 47-40 game with 39.8 seconds left.

Linton gamely battled to within four points on two occasions, but no closer.

The Miners struggled mightily at the offensive end the final two quarters, converting only four of 27 field goal attempts (.148), and finishing the game a frosty 14 of 53 (.264) from the floor.

2022-23 BBB 2A Photo 3
Linton-Stockton's Joey Hart (Photo courtesy Double Edge Media @demllc)


Saturday marked Linton’s third championship game appearance after coming up short against Bowman Academy in 2013 and Andrean in 2019. The Miners, a program that has been part of the Indiana hoops landscape since the 1915-16 season, looked for a time as though the 265th postseason game in its rich history would achieve the ultimate.

“Tough game. Going into the half, they made some adjustments, and, obviously, I didn’t adjust as well as I should have,” said Miners interim coach Noah Hawkins. “(Blackhawk Christian) did a good job of taking away what we wanted to do. “Sometimes, shots just don’t go in. That’s basketball.”

Pickett led the way for the Braves, just missing a double-double with 19 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Gage Sefton added 16 points and eight boards, while senior guard Jimmy Davidson, son of coach Davidson, had nine points and seven rebounds.

Hart, who is committed to play college basketball for the University of Central Florida for coach and former Duke All-American Johnny Dawkins, did wind up with a game-high 23 points for Linton (29-2).

Miners senior guard Logan Webb supplied 11 points, while senior post Nathan Frady snagged 12 rebounds and dished out four assists.
Blackhawk Christian finished the season with a 27-3 record, which ups its mark to a borderline absurd 155-19 record over the past six years.

Somewhere, coach Davidson had the best seat in the house.

And smiled.

“Two of the things that I took from coach Davison that I hold dear to my heart were, No. 1, his competitive drive for excellence,” said Roth. “He pursued it in everything he did.

“The second is the way he loved these young men, and loved everybody at the school. He was beloved by everybody, and that’s what made him so unique.”

Final Box Score

Class 2A State Championship Records

Most Field Goals Attempted
26 by Joey Hart, Linton-Stockton

Most 3-Point Field Goal Attempted
13 by Joey Hart, Linton-Stockton

Nathan Frady of Linton-Stockton receives Trester Mental Attitude Award
Following the game, members of the IHSAA Executive Committee named Nathan Frady of Linton-Stockton High School as the winner of the Arthur L. Trester Mental Attitude Award in Class 1A Boys Basketball.

The award is presented annually to a senior participant in each classification who was nominated by his principal and coach and has demonstrated excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.

Nathan spends time serving his community outside of being a basketball player. He is an active member of multiple organizations, such as Operation Christmas Child and Youth Little League. Nathan is apart of the National Honors Society and Student Council and serves the role as President in both. He is ranked 1st in his class of 88 students with a 4.27 GPA. Nathan is captain on the baseball and tennis teams and also plays football in the fall.

He is the son of Trent and Brandy Frady of Bloomfield, Indiana and plans to attend Taylor University to major in Pre-Law.

The Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever, the presenting sponsors of the IHSAA Boys Basketball State Tournament, presented a $1,000 scholarship to the general scholarship fund at Linton-Stockton High School in the name of Nathan Frady.

The award is named in honor of the late Arthur L. Trester, who served as the first IHSAA Commissioner from 1929 to 1944 as a guiding force after the Great Depression.

2022-23 BBB 2A Photo 4
Gage Sefton of Blackhawk Christian (Photo courtesy Double Edge Media @demllc)