The Switzerland County Lady Pacer varsity basketball team has been fighting hard all year long, and on Tuesday night the battle was no different, as the young squad fought its way back into the contest with South Ripley, but after a valiant third quarter surge, a flat final stanza left the Lady Raiders with a 49-32 win.
The game was a close one early, as South Ripley’s Allie Linkmeyer opened the game with a bucket; but Lady Pacer center Eve Galbreath quickly matched that. Emily Cumberworth then drilled a three-pointer that gave the Lady Raiders the lead; but Brooke Todd sliced through the middle for a basket that made the score 5-4 with three minutes to play.
Eve Galbreath would give Switzerland County its first lead a minute later with a bank shot; but it didn’t hold up, as Emily Cumberworth converted a pair of freethrows to close the opening quarter with South Ripley leading, 7-6.
Brooke Todd regained the lead with a jumper to open the second quarter, but South Ripley got baskets from Hayley Swarte and Emily Forwalt to push the lead back to three. Brooke Todd countered with a pair of freethrows to narrow the gap back to one, but Sidney Steinhauer made an inside basket to keep South Ripley out in front.
Kelsi Konkle then converted from the baseline for the Lady Pacers, but again the defense couldn’t get a stop, with Sidney Steinhauer scoring inside again. When the South Ripley forward followed that with a pair of freethrows and Samantha Wilhoit also made a freethrow, the Lady Raiders found themselves with an 18-12 advantage with three minutes to go.
Bre Ricketts stopped that run with a basket; but the dagger came moments later, as South Ripley’s Haley Schmaltz made two straight three-pointers to extend the lead to 24-14.
Switzerland County responded, getting baskets from Makenzie Mathews and Brooke Todd to cut into the advantage, but South Ripley closed the half with two buckets by Samantha Wilhoit, and the teams went to the halftime break with the Lady Raiders holding a 28-18 advantage.
The third quarter would show the Lady Pacers’ toughness and determination, as Switzerland County made a big offensive run to get right back in the contest.
Kelsi Konkle started the scoring with a jumper; and Eve Galbreath followed that with a freethrow, a basket, and another freethrow. Shelby O’Neal scored with a drive down the lane moments later, and with 3:24 to play in the quarter, the Lady Pacers had cut the lead down to two, trailing just 28-26.
South Ripley finally scored in the quarter moments later as Samantha Wilhoit got free on the baseline; and Switzerland County suffered another blow in the final minute of the quarter when Samantha Wilhoit got an offensive rebound off of a missed freethrow and converted the put back to get the lead back to six.
Brooke Todd closed the quarter with a basket, and with Switzerland County outscoring their guests 10-4 in the stanza, the teams headed to the final eight minutes with South Ripley clinging to a 32-28 lead.
Rachel Hensley opened the final quarter for the Lady Raiders with a pair of freethrows to make the lead six; but Eve Galbreath struck right back with an inside basket to keep Switzerland County close.
With five minutes to go and just down four, that’s when the Lady Pacers hit an iceberg offensively, not able to get buckets to fall as South Ripley caught fire.
The Lady Raiders went on a run of seven straight points to extend their lead to 11; and after Makenzie Mathews scored to give Switzerland County a glimmer of hope, South Ripley reeled off the game’s final eight points to make the final score 49-32 – but it was a much closer game than the final score indicated, as South Ripley outscored Switzerland County 17-4 in the final period.
The Lady Pacers were led by Eve Galbreath and Brooke Todd, each finishing in double figures with 10; and Kelsi Konkle and Makenzie Mathews each added four. Bre Ricketts and Shelby O’Neal each contributed two points in the contest.
Samantha Wilhoit led South Ripley with 13 points; and Sidney Steinhauer was in double figures with 10.
In the junior varsity contest, South Ripley defeated Switzerland County 18-13.
Courtney Pedraza led the Lady Pacers with five points; while Erika Coy, Emily Campbell, Megan Chitwood, and Regan Chitwood each had two points in the game.
Switzerland County returns to action this Saturday with an afternoon game at home against North Decatur. The jayvee game gets underway at noon.