Hot first half followed by a frigid second half leads to opening loss for Lady Pacers

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The season of the Switzerland County Lady Pacer basketball team got off to a good start on Saturday night at Lawrenceburg; but first year coach Mark Boggs’ squad also faced some struggles, as a cold second half led to a 30-point loss, 75-45.

The Lady Pacers and the Lady Tigers were tied at the halftime break at 27-27, but Lawrenceburg outscored their guests 48-18 in the second half to pull away to the win.

Switzerland County is rebuilding early in the year, and is also looking to fill the void left by the injury to center Rylee Hankins, who was hurt during this fall’s soccer season.

The first quarter was tightly played, with Switzerland County getting eight early points from sophomore Aleiah Thomas; baskets by Jody Breeck and Lexi Lay; and a pair of freethrows by Kinsley Griffith.

Lawrenceburg stayed close in the game with the play of Jenna Farmer and Julianna Kemper, and a last second bucket by Lady Tiger Justice Chambers gave Lawrenceburg a 15-14 advantage after eight minutes.

In the second half, the tight play continued, as Switzerland County spent most of the quarter at the freethrow line. Of the 13 points that Switzerland County would score in the period, nine of those came at the charity stripe, with Thomas and Griffith scoring the only field goals of the quarter.

Switzerland County was strong at the freethrow line, making 9 of 14 chances. Freshman Keirstan Oeffinger made all four of her attempts; Jaelyn Hemingway converted three of her chances; McKenli Scudder had two makes.

While the offense was shooting freethrows, the Switzerland County defense was limiting Lawrenceburg attempts offensively, and both teams went to the halftime break tied at 27-27, and hopes were high for a continuation of the solid Switzerland County play in the second half.

With only one senior on the team (Breeck), Switzerland County’s youth and inexperience at the varsity level began to show in the second half; as Lawrenceburg’s offense got rolling behind the play of Kemper.

Breeck got the third quarter off to an odd start when she made a basket from her knees after a scramble for the ball; and for the first three minutes things seemed to be following the first half script.

With Switzerland County trailing just 35-33 with five minutes to play; the Lady Tigers went on a run, scoring 17 straight points, as Kemper accounted for 12 of those on her way a game high total of 20 points.

Along with Breeck’s bucket, Switzerland County got field goals from Thomas and Griffith early; and then the Lady Pacers would go on a scoring drought for four minutes until Griffith scored again with a minute to play and Scudder made two more freethrows in the final seconds.

At the end of the third quarter, Lawrenceburg had run out to a 55-37 lead, outscoring their guests 28-10.

The final quarter opened with Lawrenceburg again going on a run of 16 points over four minutes. The lone offensive spark for Switzerland County came on a three-pointer by Oeffinger at the 6:18 mark.

By the time the Lady Pacers scored again, there was just over three minutes to play, and they were trailing by a 71-40 count.

Griffith had another bucket late; and Calleigh Powell contributed three points on a basket and a freethrow; but the Lady Tigers converted two late buckets, and the final horn sounded with Lawrenceburg on top, 75-45.

Thomas was Switzerland County’s leading scorer, finishing with 14 points while adding five rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

Griffith was also in double figures, scoring 10 points to go along with three rebounds, three steals, and an assist. Oeffinger had a solid first varsity game, scoring seven points and adding a rebound; while Breeck had four points, four boards, and a steal.

Powell had three points, a rebound, and a steal; Hemingway had three points, two rebounds, a steal and an assist; Lay had two points, three rebounds, and three assists; and Scudder chipped in two points, two rebounds, a steal and an assist.

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In the junior varsity game, Lawrenceburg defeated Switzerland County by a final score of 39-17.

With just seven players dressing for the game for the Lady Pacers, Switzerland County put up a valiant fight.

Keirstan Oeffinger led the Lady Pacers with nine points; while Brooke Johnson added four. Emma Sullivan and Jaelyn Hemingway each added two points.