Cold shooting at key times spells Pacer loss at Rivertown

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The Switzerland County boys varsity basketball team stumbled to its fifth loss in a row on Friday night, falling to rival Rising Sun by a score of 45-33 in the consolation game of the Rivertown Classic.

Offensive inconsistencies hurt the Pacers, as Switzerland County managed to score only four points in both the second and fourth quarters – not enough offense to hold off the hard-charging Shiners.

Switzerland County started off well, getting baskets from Kollin Hayes and Riley Phagan to grab an early lead.

Rising Sun came right back with buckets by Kurtis Armstrong and Mitchell Morris to tie the score, but Pacer Hunter Hayes got free inside and converted a three-point play to retake the lead.

Mitchell Morris scored again for the Shiners, and after Kollin Hayes scored again, Kurtis Armstrong nailed a three-pointer that tied the game at 9-9.

Hunter Hayes pushed Switzerland County back in front when he grabbed a rebound and made the put-back; but Kurtis Armstrong again tied the game. A Ben Curran runner gave Switzerland County a 13-11 lead to end the first quarter, but the second quarter would see the first of two frigid quarters.

The second period started with Mitchell Morris hitting a jumper, and Ben Curran’s short jumper in the lane again gave the Pacers a two point lead.

It would be the last time that Switzerland County would hold the lead in the contest.

Mitchell Morris made two straight baskets and Austin Armstrong followed those with two freethrows and a jumper that gave Rising Sun a six-point advantage. Hunter Hayes scored inside to break the run, but the half ended with the Shiners in front, 21-17.

The Pacers got within two as the third period opened on an inside bucket from Justin Green; and Derrick Eldridge got credit for a basket for the Shiners moments later on a goal tending call on Switzerland County.

Riley Phagan then drilled a three-pointer that got Switzerland County back within one; and after Mitchell Morris scored for the Shiners, another three-pointer by Riley Phagan tied the game at 25-25 with four minutes to go in the period.

Derrick Eldridge scored inside for Rising Sun to break the tie, and after Hunter Hayes made a freethrow for the Pacers, Kurtis Armstrong hit a jumper. Hunter Hayes came right back inside with a basket to slice the deficit down to one; and after Derrick Eldridge scored down low, a freethrow by Ben Curran made the score 31-29 in favor of the Shiners with a quarter to play.

Again, down by just two, the Switzerland County offense disappeared in the final eight minutes.

Kurtis Armstrong opened the period with a jumper; and Brady Murray followed that with two freethrows. Derrick Eldridge scored inside; and Jake McClellan followed that with a three-point play.

Austin Armstrong then made a string of five straight freethrows; and by the time Ben Curran scored Switzerland County’s first points of the quarter with just 49-seconds to play, Rising Sun was out in front, 45-31.

Ben Curran would score again with 22-seconds to play, but that was all the Pacers could manage, and Rising Sun claimed third place in the Rivertown Classic with a 45-33 victory.

Hunter Hayes was the leading scorer for the Pacers with 10 points; while Ben Curran finished with nine points. Riley Phagan added eight points; Kollin Hayes had four; and Justin Green contributed two.

Rising Sun was led by 12 points from Mitchell Morris; while Kurtis Armstrong and Austin Armstrong each had nine points. Derrick Eldridge had eight points; Brady Murray had four; and Jake McClellan had three.

Coach Adam Dennis’ Pacers look to get back on the winning track with two road games this weekend: tomorrow (Friday) at Southwestern and Saturday night at South Ripley. Both are conference games.