It was a battle from the opening tip, punctuated by players on the floor and held ball possessions and full court pressing defense, and although the Switzerland County Lady Pacer varsity basketball team stood toe to toe with Southwestern on Tuesday night, in the end the Lady Rebels prevailed by a score of 45-38.
Switzerland County came out of the lockerroom hot, getting two straight baskets by Eve Galbreath – both on outstanding assists from Kelsi Konkle – to open up an early lead. After Southwestern’s Savannah Hubbard made a freethrow; two freethrows by Eve Galbreath gave the Lady Pacers a 6-1 advantage.
Southwestern stepped up its offense, going on a run of nine straight points on a three-pointer from Savannah Hubbard; a pair of freethrows from Debbie Hardy; and two straight baskets by Cheyenne McKinley.
Down by four, it was time for the Lady Pacers to make a run, ending the quarter with a string of seven straight – including a three-pointer from Kelsi Konkle and baskets by Makenzie Mathews and Hailee Lay – and the first period ended with Switzerland County on top, 13-10.
The Lady Rebels then opened the second quarter on a streak, getting two straight baskets to retake the lead; but a Mercedes Parham three-pointer quickly pushed the Lady Pacers back in front. Southwestern got a three-pointer from Debbie Hardy; but moments later the Lady Rebels’ Austin Courtney was hit with a technical foul, and when Brooke Todd made a resulting freethrow and Makenzie Mathews followed that with a basket, Switzerland County was back in front.
A freethrow from Hailee Lay concluded the first half scoring, and the teams went to the lockerroom with Switzerland County in front by a 20-17 score.
The Lady Pacers widened that lead with a fast start in the second half, getting a freethrow from Brooke Todd and two baskets from Bre Ricketts to move out to a 25-18 advantage; but one of the issues that has haunted Switzerland County all year long has been going cold from the floor for periods of time.
The frigid shooting struck again at that point, as the Lady Pacers would go 5:42 seconds before they would score again in the period.
In the meantime, Southwestern got rolling, getting a basket from Savannah Hubbard, a three-point play by Morgan Mahoney, a basket by Cheyenne McKinley, a pair of freethrows from Morgan Mahoney, and a three-pointer by Savannah Hubbard to take a 29-25 lead.
Switzerland County finally found the range again with 55-seconds to play in the period when Eve Galbreath scored inside, but the quarter ended with Southwestern on top, 29-27.
Switzerland County hit another cold shooting spell as the final stanza opened, this time going the first 4:27 of the quarter before they got on the board.
Southwestern wasn’t fairing much better, accounting for just four more points over that same stretch as the physical nature of the game began to wear down players on both sides.
In spite of going more than half the quarter without scoring, the Lady Pacers found themselves down by just six points when Makenzie Mathews broke the drought to cut the deficit to four.
Debbie Hardy scored again for Southwestern and Cheyenne McKinley followed that with a basket to extend the Lady Rebel lead back to six; but Kelsi Konkle converted a clutch three-pointer that kept the Lady Pacers in the thick of the game.
Debbie Hardy scored again for Southwestern, but the Lady Pacers made a run on a basket by Brooke Todd and an inside bucket by Eve Galbreath.
Down by just three, Switzerland County turned up the defensive pressure, but Southwestern’s Debbie Hardy got free and hit a critical three-pointer that gave the Lady Rebels a bit of breathing room with 1:14 to play.
Brooke Todd scored with 24-seconds to go to cut the deficit down to four; and although Switzerland County had some chances in the closing seconds, Southwestern converted 3-of-4 from the freethrow line to close out the game with a 45-38 win.
Eve Galbreath led Switzerland County with 10 points; while Kelsi Konkle, Brooke Todd, and Makenzie Mathews all finished with six each. Bre Ricketts added four points; while Mercedes Parham and Hailee Lay each contributed three points in the loss.
Debbie Hardy led Southwestern with 14 points; and Savannah Hubbard was in double figures with 11.
Both teams made 12 two-point field goals in the contest; but Southwestern made one more three-pointer, four to Switzerland County’s three, and the Lady Rebels also made nine freethrows to the Lady Pacers’ five.
Switzerland County now wraps up its regular season tomorrow (Friday) night when they play the first game of a girls-boys varsity doubleheader at home against Madison Shawe. The girls game will start at 6 p.m. The Lady Pacers then open Sectional play this Tuesday at South Ripley with they play North Decatur in the tournament’s opening game at 6 p.m.
In Tuesday night’s junior varsity action, Southwestern defeated Switzerland County 34-17.
Makenzie Mathews led the Lady Pacers with six points; with Hailee Lay adding five. Bre Braun finished with four points; and Courtney Pedraza had two points.