Switzerland County Pacer Chase Ritch said that he felt really good as he went through his warm up routine in preparation for last Friday’s game against Trinity Lutheran. Always known for having an exceptional shooting touch, as he took some practice shots during pregame, things felt different.
“I did feel like my shot was going well and I thought I might have a good game,” the junior said. “I never figured I would do something like this.”
“Like this” was tying the school record of nine three-pointers in Friday night’s game to finish with a game high 27 points to lead the Pacer blow out of their guests, 80-46.
The nine three-pointers – the 10th rimmed out just before Chase Ritch was taken out of the game by the coaching staff to allow the reserves to get some action – comes nearly 18 years after it was established.
Michael Gault set the record by making 9-of-12 three-pointers during the Homecoming game against Rising Sun in January of 1995. He broke the record of eight that teammate Ryan Collier had set at Milan earlier that season, and the record has stood the test of time ever since.
In a great coincidence, Michael Gault, who now lives in Indianapolis, was in attendance at Friday night’s game and got to see his record matched.
“Actually, I was rooting for him to get 10,” the Pacer legend said after the game. “It’s nice to have the record, but it would be nicer for him to break it. Like they say, ‘records are made to be broken’, I was hoping I’d get to see mine go down tonight, but I guess we’ll just share it for awhile.”
Wondering whether or not the record would be broken was the only drama in Friday night’s game, as the Pacers quickly moved out to a strong lead against the overmatched Cougars, and rode hot shooting and depth off the bench to the big win.
The game started with senior Alex Curran taking an alley-oop pass and converting a huge dunk to get the Pacer offense rolling and the crowd on its feet.
Trinity Lutheran held the lead at one point, going ahead 4-2 with 6:27 to play in the opening quarter after Luke Stuckwisch made a three-pointer and Jacob Harless added a freethrow.
That quickly evaporated on the strength of three straight three-pointers by Chase Ritch, a basket by Alex Curran; a fourth three-pointer by Chase Ritch; and another inside bucket by Alex Curran.
With 1:56 to play in the opening quarter, the Pacers were ahead 18-6, and buses began warming up for the Cougar trip back to Seymour.
A basket by Austin Clark made the score 20-8 in favor of the Pacers at the first break.
Switzerland County expanded the lead in the second quarter, getting a freethrow from Braden Burk before Trinity Lutheran went on a run of seven points to close to within six at 21-15.
Cue Chase Ritch.
Another long bomb from the wing found the range for three-pointer number five; and after Alex Curran scored inside again, “home run” number six came with 2:20 to play and the lead was back to 12.
Alex Curran again scored inside; and Braden Burk finished off the half with a bucket to make the halftime score 33-17.
The third quarter wasn’t any better, as the Pacers stretched the lead to 59-32 by the end of the stanza, based in large part by pouring the ball inside to Austin Clark and some outside shooting from Braden Burk.
With a quarter to play, the reserves saw most of the action, and when Chase Ritch’s attempt at three-pointer number 10 rimmed out, Switzerland County settled for an 80-46 blowout that raised the Pacer record to 3-0 on the year.
Balance continues to be a big part of the Switzerland County success.
Chase Ritch had 27 to lead all scorers, with Austin Clark and Alex Curran each finishing in double figures with 15 and Braden Burk making it a quartet with 11.
T.J. White had an excellent game all around, finishing with eight points; while Clint Swanson and Trevor Smith each added two.
Craig Stuckwisch led Trinity Lutheran with 15 points.
In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated Trinity Lutheran by a score of 40-32.
Riley Phagan led the Pacers with 17 points; while Ben Curran finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
James Crabtree had six points in the contest; Nathan Hunter had two points; and Zach Whitaker finished with four assists to help lead the win.
The Pacers return to action tomorrow (Friday) night when they travel to Rising Sun to take on the Shiners for the “Ruler of the River” trophy. The jayvee game tips off at 6 p.m.