Lady Pacer season comes to a startling end with Sectional loss.

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Switzerland County coach Wayne Ellegood silently exited the locker room and came back into the hallway just outside the Lawrenceburg gym.

“I don’t have an answer,” the Lady Pacer coach said quietly on the heels of his team losing to South Ripley by a score of 49-28 in the semifinal game of the Class 2A Sectional last Friday night. “There’s some sad kids in that locker room.”

Switzerland County had been expected to move past South Ripley and on to a championship showdown with Southwestern on Saturday night, but the Lady Raiders rode a near-perfect game plan to the win, and it was South Ripley who faced the Lady Rebels on Saturday night — and the Lady Raiders nearly pulled that win off, too, before Southwestern moved on to this Saturday’s regional.

“There’s no question that we didn’t play up to our expectations,” Coach Ellegood said as teary-eyed players filed out of the dressing room and into the arms of family and friends. “You have to give credit to South Ripley, they came out ready to play. We got down early, and we just never really got things going.”

Guard Ashley Bright opened the game’s scoring for Switzerland County with a short jumper; but the Lady Pacers would go more than seven minutes through the opening quarter before Ashley Chase got free inside for a layup with less than a minute to play.

By that time South Ripley had moved out to a 12-4 lead; and with the Lady Pacers unable to mount any offense at all, the rest of the game played right into the Lady Raiders’ hands.

By the half South Ripley had extended its lead to 26-15, thanks in part to a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Beth Thieman.

The first half was a mixture of South Ripley shredding the Switzerland County press for layups, and the Lady Pacers’ inability to haul down critical rebounds.

It just seemed as though the ball never bounced the Switzerland County way.

South Ripley’s Ashley Thomas was a force on the interior, pulling down offensive rebounds and getting points on put-backs; and the Lady Raider defense was successful in shutting down any Swiss offensive outbursts; as the Lady Pacers would score on consecutive trips down the floor only once in the entire game.

The third period was nearly even, with South Ripley outscoring the Lady Pacers by a 10-9 count in the stanza; but Switzerland County could find no other offense other than Ashley Chase — who was the only Switzerland County player to score in the second half until Shana Todd hit a bucket late in the contest after both teams had cleared their benches.

South Ripley capped the win by outscoring Switzerland County 13-4 in the final period; and Pacer fans were left in shock as the final deficit stood at 21 points.

Ashley Chase was the lone Pacer in double figures, finishing with 13 points on the night along with eight rebounds and four blocked shots.

Ashley Bright added six points; Kodi Driver chipped in five points; and Amber Smith and Shana Todd each finished with two.

Kristen Huss and Beth Thieman each finished with 13 for South Ripley; and Ashley Thomas was also in double figures with 10.

The Lady Raiders out rebounded Switzerland County 44-26, with 20 of those coming on the offensive end. The Lady Pacers also helped the cause by committing 19 turnovers; and shot just 26-percent from the floor for the game.

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The game was the final contest for three Switzerland County seniors: Ashley Chase, Natalie Daugherty, and Kodi Driver. Although Ashley Chase will suit up next year for the University of Evansville; on Friday night Coach Ellegood chose to speak of them as a group.

“We had three great seniors,” he said. “We won a lot of ball games during their four years in our program. I’m proud of them. They did nothing but represent their school and their community with style. They’re first class kids.”

The Switzerland County coach was also able to see a bit of the bigger picture following Friday night’s loss.

“If we look back on the season, we had a good season,” Ellegood said. “For what we came through (Kodi Driver and Courtney Cole both missing significant time due to knee surgeries), to win the number of games we did and to win the Rivertown Classic and a share of the conference title; when the hurt of this game passes, there’s a lot that these kids can be proud of.”