Coming into the season, Switzerland County junior center Austin Clark was considered to be one of the best underclassmen in Southern Indiana. After the season he’s compiled to this points, including Saturday night’s 31 points in a conference dismantling of Milan – he must be considered as one of the best players in this part of the state, regardless of grade in school.
Austin Clark simply overwhelmed the Milan Indians on Saturday night, taking over the game on the inside and then moving outside in an overall picture-perfect effort.
The Pacers opened the game with a basket by Trevor Smith; and after Milan’s Cooper Wade connected on a three-pointer, Milan held the lead at 3-2.
It would be the only time the Indians would be in front.
Austin Clark erased the lead with a three-pointer, and followed that with a basket inside to make the lead four. Gavin Detraz scored for Milan, but Braden Burk nailed a three-pointer for the Pacers.
Milan climbed back to within two on a three-point play by Logan Karsteter; but that was followed by a run from Switzerland County.
Austin Clark’s inside basket was followed by Clint Swanson’s layup. Chase Ritch and Braden Burk followed that with three-pointers; and after Travis Butte stopped that run with a basket at the end of the period, the quarter came to a close with Switzerland County in front by a score of 20-10.
The Pacers went right back to work as the second period got underway. Austin Clark scored inside again and Braden Burk converted a three-point play. Austin Clark then hit a three-pointer at the 3:44 mark, and Switzerland County was in front, 28-10.
Even when Milan scored, they really didn’t.
The Indians finally got on the second quarter scoreboard at the 3:19 mark, when Jon Bixler’s layup attempt bounced free but the officials ruled goal tending on Switzerland County’s Braden Burk, counting the bucket. Cooper Wade finally got a shot to fall moments later, but Chase Ritch matched that with a jumper, and after Logan Alloway converted a pair of freethrows for the Indians, Austin Clark again got free for his three three-pointer of the first half.
The half ended with Cooper Wade making a jumper for the Indians, and Austin Clark made a pair of freethrows for the Pacers.
At the half, Switzerland County led by a 35-18 score – and Milan led Austin Clark by an 18-17 count.
The third quarter opened with Austin Clark scoring inside and Clint Swanson followed that with a runner in the lane to push the lead over 20. Jon Bixler made a three-pointer for the Indians; but Trevor Smith responded with a freethrow. Milan countered that with a basket and a freethrow; but again Austin Clark went to work, scoring down low.
When Chase Ritch and T.J. White followed that with baskets, at the 2:55 mark Switzerland County had moved out to a 46-24 advantage.
Milan tried to mount a comeback, getting baskets from Logan Alloway and Logan Karsteter, but the Indians simply couldn’t control Switzerland County on the defensive end well enough to mount a charge.
Chase Ritch hit another shot, and Austin Clark powered his way inside to push the Pacers to a 50-28 lead.
The quarter ended on another goal tending call, as Austin Clark was whistled for interfering with a shot by Travis Butte, and the quarter ended with the Pacers in front, 50-30.
Milan posted its biggest run of the game as the final quarter got underway, getting a three-pointer from Travis Butte and baskets by Jon Bixler and Logan Karsteter to draw to within 13 points – but again the Indians couldn’t get defensive stops.
Trevor Smith scored inside and Austin Clark followed that with a pair of freethrows; and after Logan Alloway made a three-point play for Milan; Switzerland County went back to work, getting two more freethrows from Austin Clark and a basket by Trevor Smith.
With 2:40 left to play, Milan’s Cooper Wade made a three-pointer that made the score 58-43 in favor of the Pacers, but those would be the final points that the Indians would score in the contest.
Switzerland County finished off the game with a pair of freethrows and a basket by Austin Clark; and buckets by T.J. White and Trevor Smith. The made the final margin of victory 23-points, as the Pacers earned the win, 66-43.
The Pacers made 20 two-point field goals in the game along with six three-pointers and were 10-for-15 from the charity stripe.
Milan managed 13 two-point baskets and four three-pointers, and were 5-for-8 from the freethrow line.
Austin Clark led the way with 31 points; while the trio of Braden Burk, Chase Ritch, and Trevor Smith each finished with nine. Clint Swanson and T.J. White each had four points in the game.
Cooper Wade led Milan with 11 points.
The Pacers return to action tomorrow (Friday) night when they play Madison Shawe in a girls varsity/boys varsity doubleheader for “Mike Night”.
The girls game will get underway at 6 p.m., with the boys game starting at approximately 7:30 p.m.
In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated Milan by a score of 42-32.
Riley Phagan led the Pacers with 11 points; while Nathan Hunter was also in double figures with 10.
Ben Curran had eight points; Justus Powell added seven points; Zach Whitaker had four points; and Nolan Armstrong contributed two points.
The junior varsity team will be back in action tonight (Thursday) when they play Madison Shawe at home.