Aleiah Thomas scores 24 points, but Lady Pacers fall to Southwestern, 50-43

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Playing on the road on a cold, winter night is bad enough; but last Thursday Coach Mark Boggs’ Switzerland County Lady Pacers traveled to Hanover to play Southwestern, and did so extremely short handed, due to illness and other concerns.

The team was so short handed that four varsity players: McKenli Scudder, Lexi Lay, Calleigh Powell, and Keirstan Oeffinger each had to play one quarter of jayvee so that the game could be played, as other junior varsity players Josie Meyer, Emma Sullivan, Jacey Peelman, and Brooke Clark played the entire game without benefit of a substitute to give them a rest.

Short handed or not, the varsity Lady Pacers still battled hard throughout the contest, but a slow start and a stumble in the third quarter led to a 50-43 loss to the Lady Rebels.

Southwestern came out hot, scoring six straight points before Aleiah Thomas could stop that skid with a bucket for the Lady Pacers. The Lady Rebels followed that basket up with another run of seven straight points, putting Switzerland County in a 13-2 hole. Thomas scored again, but Southwestern’s Taylor Cole converted two freethrows to match that; and when Calleigh Powell scored that wrapped up the first period scoring, with Southwestern holding a 15-6 lead.

Switzerland County made a run to open the second quarter, getting two freethrows from Thomas and a freethrow from Jody Breeck to get within six; but Kate Sampson made a basket to stop that run, but the Lady Pacers came right back with a bucket by Lexi Lay. After Emma Foley scored for the Lady Rebels, Thomas drilled a three-pointer, but again Switzerland County could not get a run going, as Ellie Foley scored.

The back and forth continued, as McKenli Scudder scored for Switzerland County; but KK West hit a three-pointer for Southwestern.

With the score standing at 24-16 in favor of the home team, Switzerland County made a run, as Thomas hit another three-pointer and then followed that up with a layup that made the score 24-21 in favor of Southwestern at the break.

Down by just three, Switzerland County stumbled as the third period got underway, as Abby Ralston hit a jumper and followed that with a three-pointer and then Bella Marcum hit a basket to extend the lead to 10, 31-21.

Thomas responded with another three-pointer that cut the lead to seven; but Marcum scored again. Lay then hit a three-pointer that brought the deficit down to six; but Southwestern got a freethrow from Cole, a three-pointer by Emma Foley, and a basket by West that pushed the Lady Rebels out to a 12-point lead, 39-27, with about three minutes left.

Then it was time for Switzerland County to respond, as the Lady Pacers got a three-pointer from Lay, a steal and a layup from Thomas, and an inside bucket by Breeck to close the gap down to five with two minutes to play.

A freethrow by Marcum gave Southwestern a 40-34 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.

Thomas opened the last stanza with a bucket that closed the gap to four; and after Southwestern matched that, Thomas hit another three-pointer that got the Lady Pacers to within three. Cole answered that, and after both teams failed to convert freethrow opportunities, Lay scored on a short jumper that again drew Switzerland County to within three.

Southwestern then got a basket from Emma Foley, and with 30-seconds to go, Ralston went to the line for a one-and-bonus opportunity. She made the first one to make the lead six; but when her second attempt bounced free, Southwestern grabbed a key offensive rebound, which resulted in Emma Foley going to the line after a Lady Pacer foul. She made one of the two attempts, and the score stood at 48-41 with 29-seconds to play.

Keirstan Oeffinger whittled that to five with a basket inside of 10-seconds, but the Lady Pacers were again forced to send Southwestern to the freethrow line, and two freethrows by Ralston sealed the win for the Lady Rebels, 50-43.

Thomas had an outstanding game, finishing with 24 points, seven rebounds, and an assist; while Lay was also in double figures, as she had 10 points and two rebounds.

Breeck had three points and 11 rebounds; Powell had two points and five rebounds; Scudder had two points and two rebounds; and Oeffinger had two points, two rebounds, and three assists.

Ralston led Southwestern with 13 points; Cole had 11; and Emma Foley added eight.

The loss dropped Switzerland County to 3-13 overall on the season.

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In the junior varsity game, although they played short handed, Switzerland County responded with a big win, 47-11, holding Southwestern scoreless in the second half.

Josie Meyer had 17 points to lead Switzerland County; while Jacey Peelman had 16 points in the rout.

Keirstan Oeffinger had six points in her quarter of play; Emma Sullivan had four points; Brooke Clark had two; and Lexi Lay had two.