Cam Craig scores 46 points as Pacers open year with big win over Austin
Switzerland County sophomore Cam Craig started the 2022-2023 boys varsity basketball season off with a bang on Saturday night, as he erupted for 46 points in leading the Pacers to a 89-70 win on the road at Austin.
Craig’s performance fell just short of the Switzerland County boys single game scoring record of 49 points, which was set by Chase Kelso on February 5th, 1997 in a home game versus Rising Sun.
The point total established a new record for the most points scored in a game in the Austin gym. The previous mark was 45 points scored by Shannon Arthur of New Washington.
Coach Travis Wrightsman’s Pacers came out of the gate hot, scoring 14 straight points.
Jacob Williams scored inside to get the season underway; and Craig followed that with a bucket and backed that up with a three-pointer. Williams then hit a three-pointer; and following an Austin timeout, Craig scored inside and Bradley Romans hit a runner that gave Switzerland County a 14-0 lead.
Austin got on the board at the 5:20 mark when Brayden Furnish hit a three-pointer; and after Trace Johnson hit a jumper for the Pacers, a three-pointer from Kyler Davidson drew the Eagles to within 10, 16-6.
The Pacers then went on another run, getting a three-point play by Craig, a bucket by Williams, and a freethrow by Craig to take a 22-6 lead; and after Furnish scored for the Eagles, Canaan Johnson matched that for the Pacers.
The first quarter ended with the Eagles going on a 5-2 with the Pacers getting another bucket by Canaan Johnson, and the period ended with Switzerland County in front 26-13.
Austin opened the second period with four straight points; and following a timeout by Wrightsman, the Pacers went on another offensive run; getting a freethrow by Canaan Johnson; a traditional three-point play by Craig; and after an Eagle freethrow, Craig made two more freethrows to stretch the lead to 16.
Austin converted a freethrow; but Trace Johnson hit another jumper for Switzerland County. The Eagles got two freethrows from Xander Ritchie and a three-pointer from Furnish to climb to within 12; and after Canaan Johnson scored for the Pacers, Furnish made a pair of charities for Austin to make the score 38-26 with 1:22 to play in the half.
Williams closed the half on a hot streak, connecting on a three-pointer and following that up with a jumper in the lane to make the score 43-26 in favor of Switzerland County as the teams went to the break.
Craig would score 30 of his 46 points in the second half, and Switzerland County would need every one of them as Austin set up camp at the freethrow line in the second half — going to the line 23 times in the half, 15 of those attempts in the final quarter.
Craig opened the third quarter with a three-pointer; but Austin sophomore guard Brooks Swank then introduced himself into the game.
Swank had four points in the first half, but then erupted with 28 in the second half — including going 17-for-17 from the line in the half — to give the Eagles some hope.
But it wasn’t going to be enough, as Craig would account for 30 points in the half, and the Pacers would cruise to the victory.
Following Swank’s bucket, Craig converted a three-point play and followed that with a layup; and after Cameron Richey scored for Austin, Richie made a basket, and Swank made two freethrows, and the Eagles were within 17 at 51-34.
Romans scored for the Pacers to break that streak, and Craig followed that with a freethrow. Swank made four straight points for Austin; but Craig countered with a pair of freethrows and two jumpers.
Furnish made two freethrows for the Eagles and followed that with a basket; and Craig ended the stanza with a bucket that put Switzerland County out front by a score of 62-42 with a quarter to play.
The final eight minutes opened with the Pacers going on another run, as Craig hit two straight baskets and Canaan Johnson converted two freethrows to extend the lead to 26.
Swank made two freethrows for Austin, but Craig continued his unstoppable play inside, converting another bucket. Romans followed that with two freethrows; and after Swank made two freethrows, Craig scored again inside. Swank then made two freethrows and hit a jumper; but Aiden Griffith scored for the Pacers; and after Richie hit a three-pointer, Romans scored again to keep the game in check.
From there the scoring went back and forth, as Swank kept going to the freethrow line for Austin; Switzerland County kept answering, as Craig continued to convert inside; Kadyn Ripley drilled a three-pointer; Craig scored again; and Riley made a freethrow to close the scoring for the Pacers and end the game with Switzerland County earning an 89-70 score.
Craig had the scoring record in his sights, but fouled out of the game with 1:10 to play, and was 10-for-16 from the line. The effort sets the tone for the season, which promises to be a big one for the Pacers with only two seniors — Griffith and Trace Johnson — on the roster.
Along with Craig’s 46, the Pacers saw Williams hit double figures with 14 points — all in the first half; while Canaan Johnson had nine and Romans added eight.
Trace Johnson, Riley, and Griffith each had four in the contest.
Austin was led by Swank with 32, Furnish with 19, and Richie with 10.
The Pacers will travel to Clarksville to take on the Generals tomorrow (Friday) night; and then come home for the first time this season when they take on Carroll County on Saturday.
In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County fell to Austin 47-41.
The Pacers were led by Briar Johnson with nine; while Carson Griffith, Mason Peelman and Kadyn Riley had seven points each.
Cooper Todd had five; Cale Collier finished with four; while Landen Rider and Kale Cumbie had one each.