Friday night’s game between Switzerland County and Jac-Cen-Del had its share of emotion as this year’s senior class was honored as they played their final home game – but once game time came, the Pacers took their conference foe to the woodshed, resulting in a 56-30 pounding of the Eagles.
The game was so lopsided, that junior Austin Clark posted a career-high of 33 points that saw him outscore the entire Jac-Cen-Del team by himself.
But it was a night for memories past and memories made, and a wonderful one occurred as the game got underway, when senior Pacer Tyler Queen, sidelined for much of two years with knee injuries, came out to start with his fellow seniors. As the opening tip came back to him, Tyler Queen dribbled to the sideline, where he threw a pass to junior Chase Ritch – who was out of bounds at the time – in an orchestrated moment that allowed Tyler to get into the game; but also allowed the Pacer coaching staff to get him out of the game before he did more damage to the knee.
Tyler Queen then left to a standing ovation and hugs from the coaching staff and his teammates.
Then things got ugly.
The Pacers reeled off six straight points to open the game on a pair of baskets from Austin Clark and a bucket from Trevor Smith.
After Adam Siebert scored for the Eagles, Switzerland County went back to work, getting a three-pointer from Austin Clark. Trey Brown had Jac-Cen-Del’s second basket, but the quarter ended on two more baskets by Austin Clark and a rebound put-back from Alex Curran that made the score 15-4 after one quarter.
Clint Swanson opened the second quarter scoring with a dash through the lane for a layup; but Adam Siebert scored inside and a Trent Smith made a three-pointer as Jac-Cen-Del climbed back to within eight.
Switzerland County was going to have nothing to do with a letdown on this night, however, and Chase Ritch’s three-pointer was followed by a three-point play by Austin Clark; and when Austin Clark scored again at the 4:07 mark, the Pacers were back solidly in control, 25-9.
Trent Smith made another three-pointer for the Eagles, but Trevor Smith barreled into the lane for a basket; and that was followed by another three-pointer by Chase Ritch. Trevor Smith was fouled and went to the free-throw line with just a second to play in the half, and after making the first his second attempt bounced free - only to be gobbled up by Bob Tressler, and his put back closed the half with the Pacers out in front, 33-12.
Jac-Cen-Del tried to rally as the third quarter opened, getting a free-throw from Trent Smith and a basket by Trey Brown; but Austin Clark went back to work in dominating fashion, controlling the inside and then moving outside for some clutch three-pointers.
The third quarter actually saw the Pacer offense sputter just a bit, as the squad scored only six points over the eight minute span, including four points from Austin Clark and a jumper from Chase Ritch, but the Switzerland County defense was so suffocating that the Eagles simply couldn’t make any headway.
With a quarter to go, the Pacers led by a 39-23 count.
Any thoughts of a sluggish second half quickly went away as the fourth quarter dawned, with Austin Clark again converting a traditional three-point play. Jac-Cen-Del got early baskets from Adam Siebert and Allen Hooten, but the Eagles would only score seven points in the final stanza as Switzerland County pulled away.
Austin Clark made a three-pointer; and that was followed by Ben Curran hitting a short jumper in the lane. Austin Clark then scored again inside; and after Trent Smith hit a three-pointer for the Eagles with 3:07 to play, Switzerland County would do the rest of the scoring for the game en route to the win.
Alex Curran made a pair of free-throws; and that Austin Clark capped the game with a basket and a free-throw that made the final score 56-30 in favor of the Pacers.
Basketball is sometimes a game of numbers, so here are end of the game statistics to consider:
– Jac-Cen-Del: (10) two point field goals; (3) three point field goals; two free-throws attempted; one free-throw made; 30 points total.
- Austin Clark: (11) two point field goals; (2) three point field goals; six free-throws attempted; five free-throw made; 33 points total.
Austin Clark’s career-high of 33 points paved the way; while Chase Ritch finished with eight points. Trevor Smith had five; Alex Curran finished with four; and Clint Swanson, Ben Curran, and Bob Tressler each contributed two points.
Trent Smith led Jac-Cen-Del with 10 points.
In the junior varsity game, Jac-Cen-Del defeated Switzerland County by a score of 49-31.
Zach Whitaker led the Pacers with nine points, three rebounds, and two assists; while Nathan Hunter added eight points, three rebounds, and three steals.
Justus Powell had four points and three steals; Tristen Bolton had three points and three rebounds; Caleb Furnish had three points; Ben Curran had two points; and Riley Phagan had two points.
The regular season comes to a close tomorrow (Friday) night at Madison, with the junior varsity game tipping at 6 p.m.
The varsity team will then enter Sectional play next Friday, March 1st, when the Pacers play the Milan-Austin winners in the second game of the South Ripley Sectional, starting at approximately 7:30 p.m.