After a slow first half, the Switzerland County Pacers caught fire at the right time and pulled away with a huge fourth quarter to score a 49-36 win over Madison Shawe last Friday night.
The game was the back half of the girls-boys varsity doubleheader that was held for “Mike Night”, helping raise funds for the Mike McClure Scholarship Fund.
The game was a back and forth affair for the first three periods, with both teams taking turns making offensive runs followed by cold spells.
After the Pacers pulled out to a 7-2 lead on the strength of a bucket by Austin Clark and five points from T.J. White; and after the Hilltoppers got a basket from David Grote, two more baskets by Austin Clark and T.J. White made the score 11-4.
The Hilltoppers responded with a run of seven straight points that tied the game; and another basket by Austin Clark gave the Pacers a two point lead after one quarter.
The second period was a frosty one for the Pacers, as Switzerland County would score only four points and four Pacers players found the bench with first half foul trouble. As Chase Ritch, Austin Clark, Clint Swanson, and T.J. White all had to sit, Switzerland County reserves played some critical minutes and some strong defense.
Trevor Smith and Clint Swanson had the Pacer second quarter points; but Shawe could not take advantage of the foul situation, scoring only eight points in the quarter – but it was enough for the Hilltoppers to take a 19-17 lead at the half.
Both offenses continued to sputter after the halftime break, with the Pacers outscoring the Hilltoppers by a 9-8 score.
Madison Shawe moved out to a six-point lead early in the third quarter; but Switzerland County stormed back with a basket from Bob Tressler and a three-point play Austin Clark to draw to within one. Shawe then got a pair of freethrows and a basket from Luke Higgins to take a five point lead; but Austin Clark closed the quarter with a pair of freethrows and an inside basket to make the score 27-26 in favor of the Hilltoppers with a period to play.
It was in the fourth quarter when the Switzerland County offense roared back to life, as the Pacers would score 23 points in the final eight minutes – nearly matching their offensive output for the first three quarters combined.
After Taylor Rhoten opened the quarter with a pair of freethrows to make the lead three; Switzerland County would score nine straight points as Clint Swanson opened the scoring with a layup, followed by a three-pointer from Chase Ritch, a pair of freethrows from Austin Clark, and another layup from Clint Swanson.
With the Pacers now holding a six point lead, Madison Shawe responded with three freethrows; but Switzerland County then reeled off another run of six points on pairs of freethrows from Trevor Smith and Austin Clark and a basket inside from T.J. White.
Things got a little dicey with a minute to play when Austin Clark was hit with his fifth foul; and after Luke Higgins made a freethrow, Braden Burk raced downcourt for a layup only to be hammered on a hard foul from Joey Mingione. The foul resulted in Braden Burk having to leave the game temporarily with a bloody nose; and Ben Curran entered the game and calmly converted the two freethrows that moved the lead out to 10 points.
From there it was freethrows, with Clint Swanson making two attempts; Braden Burk converting a three-point play; and Clint Swanson made another freethrow to close the scoring.
The final margin was 13 points, with the Pacers winning by a 49-36 margin.
Austin Clark led the Pacers with 15 points and three rebounds; while Clint Swanson had nine points. T.J. White also finished with nine points and also had four rebounds; and Braden Burk had five points and three boards.
Trevor Smith had another outstanding all-around game, scoring four points while pulling down seven rebounds and handing out two assists. Chase Ritch had three points; while Ben Curran and Bob Tressler each contributed two points.
Luke Higgins led Madison Shawe with 12 points.