Kyle Green’s 29 points not enough as Pacers fall to ORVC champ Jac-Cen-Del, 74-68

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It was like a showdown on Main Street at high noon in a classic western movie.

Switzerland County and Jac-Cen-Del finally met on Friday night in the Pacer gym, and with both teams holding perfect 5-0 conference records, the outcome of the game would determine this year’s champion of the Ohio River Valley Conference.

After looking each other square in the eye and refusing to back down for more than three quarters, the Eagles found one last burst of offense, and rode off into the sunset with the ORVC title thanks to a 74-68 victory.

The win also came as Switzerland County celebrated Senior Night, honoring its five senior players on their final time playing in the Pacer gym.

Kyle Green made his final game a memorable one, finishing with 29 points, but in the end the fast pace of the Jac-Cen-Del offense took its toll.

The Eagles jumped out to a quick lead on baskets by Matt Gehl and Gerald Hardesty; but the Pacers responded with a basket by Travis Tackett. Jac-Cen-Del then got a three-pointer from Tim Arnett; but Kyle Green scored on a short jumper to narrow the early lead back to three.

After the Eagles got another basket, the Switzerland County offense kicked into gear, going on a run of seven straight points.

Kyle Green got things started with a pair of freethrows and a three-pointer, and Clay Meyer capped the run with a put back bucket that gave the Pacers the lead by two, 11-9.

Jac-Cen-Del, ranked third in the state in Class 1A, showed that they deserved that lofty ranking, getting two straight three-pointers from Blake Sutton to take back the lead. A last second basket by Brennan Bragg carved the lead down to two, and as everyone paused to collect their breath, the Eagles held a 15-13 lead after one quarter.

The Pacers opened the second quarter with a run, getting two straight baskets by Clay Meyer and a bucket from Brennan Bragg to go up by four. Matt Gehl then stopped the run with a jumper, but Brennan Bragg again got free inside and scored. Matt Gehl then made a freethrow, and again the Pacers poured the ball inside, getting another basket from Clay Meyer to push the lead back to five.

Jac-Cen-Del then got two straight baskets; but Kyle Green hit a critical jumper to preserve the Switzerland County lead. Matt Gehl then scored with 2:05 to play in the half, but those would be the last points that the Eagles would score before halftime.

Switzerland County ended the half with a three-point play by Travis Tackett and a last-second basket by Kyle Green, and the Pacers jogged into the lockerroom with a 30-24 halftime lead.

The second half began much like the first half played out, with the Eagles getting a pair of freethrows from Blake Sutton to open the scoring, but the Pacers came right back with two straight inside buckets by Brennan Bragg to extend the lead.

After Jac-Cen-Del scored again, Kyle Green was fouled on a shot attempt, and when the shot found its range, the following freethrow completed the three-point play and pushed the Pacer lead to nine, 37-28.

The Eagles countered, going on a 13-5 run over the next three minutes to close to within one with 3:22 to play in the quarter. The Pacers got a basket from Noah Hughes and a three-pointer by Kyle Green, but the Eagle speed was creating openings in the Switzerland County defense.

After coach Brian Bowen called a timeout to calm his troops, Kyle Green made another three-pointer, and when Clay Meyer followed that with a put-back bucket, the lead had moved back to six.

Jac-Cen-Del closed the third period with a run of 6-2, with the lone Pacer basket coming from Kyle Green, and with eight minutes to play, Switzerland County held a 49-47 advantage.

Jac-Cen-Del opened the fourth period with five straight points on a three-pointer by Blake Sutton and a basket by Matt Gehl, taking a 52-49 lead.

It would be a lead that the Eagles would never surrender.

Kyle Green made a freethrow; but Matt Gehl countered that with a basket. Kameron Pavy then hit a critical jumper in the lane; but Gerald Hardesty converted a traditional three-point play to extend the lead back to five.

Another Kyle Green freethrow was again countered by a basket by Matt Gehl, as Jac-Cen-Del slowed the pace and became very deliberate with its shot selection – running time off of the clock while holding the lead.

Brennan Bragg had a basket and a pair of freethrows for the Pacers; and Noah Hughes made a three-pointer; but as time fell under two minutes to play, Switzerland County could not make up any ground on the Eagles.

Working the clock, Matt Gehl sliced to the basket with 1:50 to play, and found the range as officials whistled a Pacer foul. The resulting freethrow completed the three-point play, and the Pacers were down seven.

The Pacers countered with a three-pointer from Kyle Green and a traditional three-point play by Mark Sharp; but Jac-Cen-Del’s Shane Adams hit a pair of freethrows; and when Blake Sutton broke free and converted a layup on a long pass, the lead went back to five.

That was followed by two freethrows from Tim Arnett; and Kyle Green followed that with a basket to cut the lead back to five.

With 12-seconds left and the Pacers scrambling for possession, Switzerland County was whistled for an intentional foul – resulting in two freethrows for the Eagles’ Shane Adams and possession of the ball for Jac-Cen-Del. He made one of the charities, but the clock ran out with the Eagles in front, 74-68.

Kyle Green led the Pacers with 29 points on the night; while Brennan Bragg finished with 14 and Clay Meyer added 10. Noah Hughes and Travis Tackett each finished with five points; while Mark Sharp had three and Kameron Pavy contributed two.

Matt Gehl led Jac-Cen-Del with 22 points; while Blake Sutton had 20 and Tim Arnett finished with 11.

The win clinched the conference title for Jac-Cen-Del; and sets the Pacers up with a season ending game tomorrow (Friday) night at Madison.

Once the regular season wraps up, the Pacers will then enter tournament play next week when they travel to Greensburg to play South Ripley in the first game on Wednesday night. With Lawrenceburg and Hauser playing in the second game on Wednesday, it may be the toughest sectional in all of Class 2A.

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The junior varsity team also saw its conference title hopes dashed with a 49-43 defeat at the hands of Jac-Cen-Del on Friday night.

Tray Meyer led the Pacers with 16 points, five rebounds, and five steals; and Keegan Kincaid finished with 12 points and five rebounds.

Blake Whitham had eight points and two rebounds; Alec McAlpine had three points; Adam Clark had two points and three rebounds; Danny Schira had two points and two assists; and Tanner Ross had four steals.

The loss dropped the jayvee record to 14-3 overall.