Playing without starting center Austin Clark, the Switzerland County Pacers used balance and patience to overcome a sloppy game and pick up its fourth win of the young season – a 53-37 decision over Rising Sun.
The game never really got into a rhythm, with Switzerland County slowly and steadily pulling away throughout the contest from their hosts, and the Shiners were never able to mount an offensive charge until it was too late.
The game opened with Trevor Smith converting a freethrow for Switzerland County, and when Nathan Hannan scored moments later, the Shiners took a 2-1 lead with 5:51 to play in the opening quarter.
It would be the only lead the Shiners would have all evening.
The Pacer offense then took over, getting baskets from Trevor Smith and Clint Swanson; and after Nathan Hannan scored again for Rising Sun, Chase Ritch nailed a three-pointer and Alex Curran converted a tip-in bucket. When Trevor Smith scored again in a runner in the lane, Switzerland County held a 12-4 lead and Shiner coach Jason McDaniel was forced to call a timeout.
Another Rising Sun basket by Nathan Hannan ended the period, and the teams moved to the second quarter with the Pacers holding a 12-6 advantage.
Shiner Jeremy Cravens converted a freethrow to open the second period; but Switzerland County responded with a jumper from Chase Ritch; a nifty bucket from Clint Swanson off of a lob pass; and inside baskets by Alex Curran and T.J. White.
As the Pacer offense runs, it was a clunky quarter, with Switzerland County scoring only eight points – but the Shiners managed only three over the same eight minutes, and the half came to a close with the Pacers holding a 20-9 advantage.
Switzerland County swelled its lead as the third quarter began, getting baskets from Braden Burk, Alex Curran, and T.J. White to push the lead to 17 points; and after Jeremy Cravens made a pair of freethrows for Rising Sun, Clint Swanson got free and converted to keep the Pacer offense moving.
Rising Sun got a basket from Jeremy Cravens and a freethrow from Ryan Dugan; but Chase Ritch canceled those points with a long three-pointer that closed the period with the Pacers holding a 31-14 advantage.
As spotty as the two offenses were in the first three quarters, both got hot over the last eight minutes, with the Shiners scoring 23 points – nine more than the previous three stanzas combined – in the fourth quarter and the Pacers cruising home with 22 fourth quarter points.
Braden Burk had a three-pointer to open the scoring for Switzerland County; and Trevor Smith converted a traditional three-point play moments later. Chase Ritch followed that with two more three-pointers of his own, and the offensive assault was just more than the hot Shiner offense could close on.
Nathan Hannan did much of the offense damage for the Shiners in the fourth quarter, accounting for 10 points, but Rising Sun could never manage to get within striking range.
Braden Burk hit a jumper and Alex Curran and T.J. White again scored inside; and when Clint Swanson converted a pair of freethrows with less than a minute remaining; Switzerland County retained the “Ruler of the River” trophy with a 53-37 victory.
Again, balance was the key, as Chase Ritch led the scoring with 14 points, including four three-pointers. T.J. White, Trevor Smith, Clint Swanson, and Alex Curran all had eight points each; and Braden Burk added seven.
One point of struggle for the Pacers was from the freethrow line, as Switzerland County managed to convert just four of 11 attempts on the night.
Nathan Hannan led Rising Sun with 16 points.
Now standing at 4-0 on the year, Switzerland County has double duty this weekend: traveling to South Dearborn tomorrow (Friday) night; and then hosting South Ripley on Saturday night. The first portion of the schedule then concludes on Friday, December 21st, when the Pacers host Christian Academy; and then close out 2012 on Saturday, December 22nd, when they travel to Elizabeth, Indiana, to take on South Central.
In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated Rising Sun by a score of 45-33.
Nathan Hunter led the Pacers with 14 points and seven rebounds; and Riley Phagan added 13 points, three rebounds and three steals to the effort. Ben Curran made it three Pacers in double figures, contributing 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Tristen Bolton had four points and three rebounds; Nolan Armstrong added three points and three rebounds; and Zach Whitaker chipped in one point and a pair of rebounds.