Big second half powers Pacers to season opening victory over Madison Shawe, 44-37

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Coach Brian Bowen’s Switzerland County Pacer varsity squad snapped a five-game losing streak to Madison Shawe last Tuesday night, opening the 2007-2008 campaign with a 44-37 victory.

The win was doubly important because it is the only time this year that Switzerland County and Madison Shawe play each other in boys varsity basketball – so not only was it the season opener, it was also a conference game. In the Ohio River Valley Conference, if conference schools play each other twice, the second game is considered to be the conference game.

In Tuesday night’s game, the Pacers got off to a fast start behind junior Kyle Green, who followed a game-opening basket by the Hilltoppers’ Nick Hall with five straight points, including a three-pointer.

Madison Shawe then powered the ball inside to Jacob Bump, who accounted for six straight Hilltopper points; but a driving bucket by Mark Sharp cut the Madison Shawe lead to one.

After Brandon Otter reclaimed the lead for Switzerland County, Nick Hall hit a three-pointer that sent the Hilltoppers to the first quarter break holding an 11-9 advantage.

The Pacers broke quickly to open the second period, getting two baskets from Clay Meyer and another from Brandon Otter to take a four-point lead; but Madison Shawe responded with a run of six straight to retake the lead, 17-15 – and that’s how the first half ended.

The third period was the telling quarter for the game, as Switzerland County showed its strength on both offense and defense.

The Pacers reeled off 11 straight points to open the quarter, and Madison Shawe failed to score until Nick Hall made two freethrows with just three seconds to play in the period.

Switzerland County got five points from Kyle Green – including another three-pointer; and baskets by Brennan Bragg, Mark Sharp, and Clay Meyer.

With a quarter to play, Switzerland County had pulled out to a 26-19 lead.

The Pacers pushed the lead to nine as the period got underway with a basket from Brandon Otter; and Madison Shawe responded with two freethrows from Jacob Bump to keep the lead at seven. The Pacers then got a freethrow from Daniel Welch and a basket from Devon Armstrong to push the lead to double figures, but again the Hilltoppers responded with three freethrows to slice the lead back to seven.

Freethrow shooting was key for Switzerland County down the stretch, as the Pacers went 7-for-10 from the freethrow line over the final four minutes of the contest. Kyle Green was a perfect 6-for-6; and Daniel Welch also sank two key charities as the clock wound down.

Sophomore Brennan Bragg had two buckets in the final stanza – one on a no-look pass by Mark Sharp, who finished the game with seven assists.

The Hilltoppers tried to fight their way back into the contest, but the Pacer defense withstood the pressure, and the game ended with the Pacers holding a 44-37 advantage.

Kyle Green led all scorers in the game, finishing with 16 points and four rebounds.

The trio of Brandon Otter, Clay Meyer, and Brennan Bragg had six points each, with sophomore Brennan Bragg also pulling down a team-high five rebounds. Mark Sharp and Daniel Welch each added five points; and Devon Armstrong finished with two.

Jacob Bump led Madison Shawe, finishing with 15 points.

The Pacers return to action tomorrow (Friday) night when they travel to Seymour to play Trinity Lutheran; and then come back to open their home schedule on Saturday night when they entertain Jennings County.

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In the junior varsity game, the Pacers defeated the Hilltoppers by a score of 29-16.

Justin Reagan and Travis Tackett each finished with eight points to lead Switzerland County; while Alec McAlpine finished with three. Pacers Noah Hughes, Tanner Ross, Tray Meyer, Danny Schira, and Kendall Otter all finished with two points apiece.