Lady Pacers can’t hold lead in final quarter, fall to South Ripley, 52-51

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Switzerland County traveled to Versailles on Tuesday night to take on the Lady Raiders of South Ripley; and the two titans of the ORVC lived up to the billing, as the teams went back and forth for 32 minutes before the contest was decided in the final seconds.

At the end, South Ripley made a key freethrow in the final seconds and then held on at the end for a 52-51 win.

Switzerland County had its chances, as the Lady Pacers led by six, 35-29, heading into the final quarter, but South Ripley outscored Switzerland County 23-16 over those final eight minutes to send the Lady Pacers home with just their third loss on the season.

The first quarter was close, with the Lady Pacers outscoring their hosts by a 13-12 margin. Switzerland County did most of its damage in the opening stanza from the freethrow line, but Makenzie Mathews led the way with five points on a jumper and a long three-pointer. Brooke Todd had four points in the quarter, all on freethrows; and Whitley Schirmer had four points on a basket and a pair of freethrows.

South Ripley did its damage inside, pouring the ball into center Toria Tucker, and she responded with six points in the first, while teammates Ellie Ayers, Kiley Sparks, and Elexah Roepke each had two points.

The second quarter belonged to Switzerland County, as the Lady Pacers went on a scoring streak to account for 14 more points, while the defense held South Ripley to just five.

Kelsi Konkle got hot in the second stanza, hitting three jumpers for six points; while Mathews continued her outstanding game with four more points and both Todd and Schirmer each added two.

South Ripley managed baskets from Sparks and Tucker and a freethrow from Cameo Hamm, and at the half, Switzerland County had built a 27-17 lead.

South Ripley began its comeback in the third period, with the Lady Raiders outscoring the Lady Pacers by a 12-8 count.

Todd had four points for Switzerland County in the quarter; while Mathews and Schirmer each contributed baskets.

The Lady Raiders had a big quarter from Julia Rea, who finished with six points; while Tucker had four more and Sparks chipped in a bucket.

With eight minutes to play, Switzerland County still held a 35-29 advantage.

The final period saw both teams head to the freethrow line often, with Switzerland County attempting nine freethrows and making six; while South Ripley went to the line 15 times, and converted 12. Overall, the Lady Raiders would score 23 points in the period – nearly doubling their offensive output for the first three quarters; while Switzerland County had 16 points.

Todd led the way in the closing quarter, adding eight more points; while Mathews had four more; Konkle converted two key freethrows; and Schirmer also had two freethrows.

The Lady Raiders were led Sparks with six points; Tucker with five; Ayers and Hamm with three each; and Rea and Taylor Wrightsman each had two.

But the game would come down to seconds.

With a minute to play, Switzerland County held a 47-45 lead when Hamm drilled a three-pointer for South Ripley to push the Lady Raiders in front.

Todd raced into the lane and drew a foul, but missed the front end of the one-and-bonus.

Ayers was fouled and she made one freethrow to extend the lead to two, 49-47.

With 32 ticks left and South Ripley leading by two, Todd stole the ball and raced downcourt for the layup to tie the game; setting off a a furious round of play.

After a timeout, South Ripley came down and went ahead when Tucker grabbed an offensive rebound and made the put back.

Hamm then fouled Todd, sending the senior to the line for the one-and-bonus. She converted both freethrows, and again the game was tied with just 16-seconds left.

With the game tied at 51-51 and with :02.9-seconds left, Sparks went to the line for South Ripley and made one of two freethrows to push the Lady Raiders into the lead. A final-second charge by Switzerland County fell short when a final shot rolled off of the rim, and the game ended with South Ripley in front, 52-51.

Todd lead Switzerland County with 18 points, and she also had four rebounds, five assists, and five steals. Mathews was in double figures, finishing with 15 points and three rebounds. Schirmer made it three in double digits as she had 10 points, two rebounds, and three steals; and Konkle had eight points, three rebounds and three steals.

Tucker finished with 17 for South Ripley; Sparks had 12; Rea finished with eight; and Ayers had five.

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In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated South Ripley by a score of 32-24.

Emerson Schroer led the Lady Pacers with 14 points; while Lexi Lay had seven and Maggie Clayton contributed six.

Kinley Morton and Jody Breeck each had two points; and Rylee Hankins chipped in one.

The Lady Pacers return to action tonight (Thursday) with a home game against New Albany; and then travel to Southwestern on Saturday night.

Note: The Southwestern game will be varsity only because the Lady Rebels are battling injuries; and will start at 7 p.m.