The Switzerland County Pacers scored nine points in the final 25-seconds of Friday night’s Homecoming game to turn a four point deficit into a five point victory, defeating New Washington by a final score of 53-48.
The Pacers were down 48-44 with 33-seconds remaining when New Washington’s A.J. Walter converted a freethrow.
Switzerland County didn’t flinch, and with 25-seconds left Coby Chase hit a huge three-pointer that drew the Pacers to within one. After a timeout by Pacer coach Adam Dennis, New Washington’s Jesus Diaz was fouled with 21-seconds to go; but missed the front end of the one-and-bonus. The Pacers grabbed the rebound and Damian Breeck streaked downcourt, drawing a foul on his shot and sending him to the line for two freethrows with 13-seconds remaining. The senior sharpshooter converted both freethrows, pushing the Pacers into the lead. After the Switzerland County defense came up with another stop, Breeck was again sent to the line by Mustangs trying to get a miss and regain possession — but again he hit both attempts to extend the lead to three with just two-seconds remaining.
New Washington attempted to inbound the ball for a final long shot, but the Mustang pass attempt sailed out of bounds on the other end of the court, giving Switzerland County possession under its own basket. Ben Hicks was quickly fouled on the inbound pass, and he made both of his freethrow attempts to seal the win by a five-point margin, 53-48.
The game tipped off with all of the markings of a close game, and it didn’t disappoint.
Diaz opened the scoring with a three-pointer for the Mustangs; and after Zach Weaver hit one of his freethrow attempts for the Pacers; New Washington got a basket from Matthew Arthur and a three-pointer by Walter to take an early 8-1 lead.
Switzerland County then went on a run, scoring 11 straight points as Chase and Breeck hits jumpers; Weaver scored inside; Breeck hit a three-pointer and Weaver followed that with another basket to give the Pacers a 12-8 lead with 1:27 to go in an exciting first quarter of action.
Bo Giltner scored for New Washington; and with 41-seconds remaining in the period Breeck hit his second three-pointer of the stanza to give Switzerland County a 15-10 lead.
The Mustangs came out in the second quarter and got baskets by Arthur and Giltner to close to within one; and after Chase hit a jumper for the Pacers, Walter scored for the Mustangs to keep things close. Breeck scored and Giltner answered that; and Chase converted a traditional three-point play that put Switzerland County in front 22-18 with just under five minutes left in the half.
Walter scored for New Washington; but then the Pacer offense sparked again.
Breeck grabbed a defensive rebound and hit Chase in stride with a long pass that resulted in a layup; and after a defensive stop, Weaver powered his way inside for another basket. New Washington missed and again Breeck pulled down the rebound and threw a long outlet pass — this time to Weaver, who caught it in stride and converted it into a layup.
Down 28-20, New Washington got baskets by Walter and Arthur to cut into the lead; but the Pacers responded when Chase hit a jumper and Dallas Snider raced down the baseline for a layup that again made the lead eight. After Garrett Wilson made two freethrows for New Washington; the half ended with Weaver hauling down an offensive rebound and making the put back to send Switzerland County into the lockerroom with a 34-26 advantage.
The Pacers pushed their lead up to 10 as the third quarter opened when Patrick Stow grabbed an offensive rebound and made the put back bucket; and after Walter scored, Weaver scored again to keep the lead at 10 with about six minutes left in the period.
That’s when the Mustangs got rolling, as New Washington scored seven straight on a three-pointer by Mason Thompson and baskets by Walter and Giltner. After Switzerland County called a timeout, the Mustangs went right back to work, getting two freethrows from Walter and two more from Arthur to pull out to a one-point advantage, 39-38, with three minutes left.
Those final minutes of the quarter saw both offenses stall, but Chase did make a freethrow for Switzerland County that tied the game at 39-39 heading into the fourth stanza.
Thompson scored twice for New Washington to open the final eight minutes and give the Mustangs a 43-29 lead; but Weaver scored again to cut that in half; and after Walter scored again, Breeck converted a traditional three-point play that made the score 45-44 with two minutes to go.
Giltner scored for the Mustangs; and Walter followed that with a freethrow, and with just 33-seconds to go, New Washington held its 48-44 lead — and that led to the final seconds when the Pacers pulled out the win.
Switzerland County saw very balanced scoring in the game, led by Breeck with 19. Weaver finished with 15 points on the night; and Chase made it three players in double figures, as he contributed 13 points.
Snider, Stow, and Hicks each contributed two points in the win.
Walter led New Washington with 16 points; while Giltner and Arthur each had 12.
In the junior varsity game, New Washington defeated Switzerland County 47-30.
Leading the Pacers in scoring was Levi Curlin with seven points; and Nate Geyman had six points. Austin Bosaw had five points; Cole Riley and Ryan Hughes had four points each; Aiden Griffith had three points; and Zach Stout added one point.