Comeback falls short as Pacers fall to Knights in tourney

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It was a back and forth battle on Thursday night in the opening round of the boys Rivertown Classic basketball tournament, but in the end a furious Switzerland County comeback fell just short, and the Pacers lost to the South Dearborn Knights by a score of 60-58

The Pacers got the game off to a hot start, getting a basket and a three pointer from Austin Clark and a freethrow from Clint Swanson to take a 6-0; and after Collier Holtegel broke the scoring ice for South Dearborn, another basket by Austin Clark made the score 8-2 with 3:57 to play.

South Dearborn responded, going on a 13-2 run over the rest of the quarter. Only Braden Burk’s jumper at the two minute mark interrupted the run; and after Chase Ritch hit a basket to stop the run, a basket by Weston Taylor made the score 17-12 after one exciting quarter.

Austin Clark’s basket opened the second period, but Austin Miller countered that, and after T.J. White got free inside for the Pacers, again South Dearborn got the match on a bucket from Adam Harves. Trevor Smith then scored for Switzerland County, but this time the Knights got two baskets from Adam Bailey to extend the lead to seven.

The Pacers got back in the contest with a freethrow from Bob Tressler and a runner from Clint Swanson; but the Knights got a three pointer from Adam Bailey and a freethrow from Weston Taylor to again extend the lead to eight.

After Chase Ritch connected on a jumper, South Dearborn matched that with a pair of freethrows from Weston Taylor.

Alex Curran, hobbled with a knee injury, played only the first half of the game, and managed to convert a couple of freethrows for the Pacers; but the half ended with Trent Moorhead drilling a three pointer for the Knights, and South Dearborn went to the break holding a 34-25 lead.

The third period opened with Clint Swanson connecting on a runner through the lane; but again South Dearborn answered. Trevor Smith made a pair of freethrows and Austin Clark scored inside to cut the lead to five; and when T.J. White grabbed a rebound off of a miss, suddenly the Pacers were down just three, 36-33.

The Knights came back, getting a freethrow and a basket from Weston Taylor; but Switzerland County got a freethrow from Austin Clark and a three pointer from Chase Ritch – and the lead was two.

Austin Miller then scored for the Knights, but Trevor Smith converted a floater in the lane to keep things close. Weston Taylor made a freethrow for South Dearborn; but when Trevor Smith completed a traditional three point play with 1:12 to play, the game was tied at 42-42.

It didn’t last long.

South Dearborn got a basket from Austin Miller, and the third quarter ended with South Dearborn clinging to a 44-42 lead.

The opening of the final period was a freethrow display, with Collier Holtegel making two for South Dearborn before T.J. White made a pair for the Pacers. Adam Harves made the front end of a pair for the Knights, and when the second bounced free, Austin Miller grabbed the rebound and was fouled on the put-back – and his two freethrows made the score 49-44 in favor of South Dearborn with just under seven minutes to play.

Austin Clark then made two freethrows to make the deficit three; and moments later Clint Swanson made a tremendous defensive play that resulted in a held ball, giving possession back to the Pacers, and seconds later a pair of freethrows by Chase Ritch cut the lead to one with five minutes to play.

Weston Taylor made a basket to stop the parade to the charity stripe, but Austin Clark kept things within one with another inside bucket with 4:16 to play.

The Pacers had a chance to tie or take the lead with 3:40 to go, but Clint Swanson missed both of a pair of freethrows, and South Dearborn came back with a basket by Collier Holtegel and a freethrow by Weston Taylor to extend the lead back to four.

After Austin Clark made a freethrow for the Pacers, South Dearborn matched that; and Switzerland County suffered a big blow moments later when Austin Clark was hit with an offensive foul moments later. It was his fifth of the game, and the junior star was sent to the bench for the remainder of the contest.

Things would get worse, as Trevor Smith fouled out with 1:05 to play; and Chase Ritch fouled out with 42 seconds to go.

The resulting freethrow attempts put the Pacers in a 59-52 hole with seconds to play, but that only fueled the Pacer spirit.

Clint Swanson scored, and after Weston Taylor converted a freethrow, Clint Swanson scored again and T.J. White scored inside, but with no timeouts left Pacer coach B.J. McAlister couldn’t stop the clock, and time literally ran out on the Pacers, falling 60-58.

Austin Clark led the Pacers with 17 points, while Trevor Smith was also in double figures with 10. Clint Swanson and Chase Ritch each finished with nine points; while T.J. White added eight points; Braden Burk and Alex Curran had two each; and Bob Tressler contributed one point.

Weston Taylor led the Knights with 20 points; while Trent Moorhead and Collier Holtegel each had 10.