A run of 19 straight points beginning in the second quarter and running until midway through the third period was something that the Switzerland County Lady Pacer varsity basketball team couldn’t overcome last Thursday night, losing to Providence by a final score of 57-35.
Also hampering the Switzerland County effort on Thursday night was that the Lady Pacers also played without starting junior guard Whitley Schirmer, who was out with an ankle injury suffered in the Rivertown Classic.
The game was a rematch of last year’s Regional final game that saw the Lady Pacers fall just short to the Lady Pioneers; and it was just as fast-paced and back-and-forth as the last time the teams met.
Makenzie Mathews opened the scoring with a jumper for Switzerland County; but Claire Rauck matched that. Kelsi Konkle scored to again push the Lady Pacers in front; but Providence responded with a basket by Marissa Hornung, two freethrows from Lexie Libs, and a bucket by Cheyenne Brooks to move out to an 8-4 advantage.
Mathews scored again; but Brooks scored on the other end; and then Mathews drilled a long three-pointer that drew Switzerland County to within one.
Brooks responded with two straight baskets to again give Providence a five points lead; but Switzerland County matched that with baskets by Mallory Phagan and Brooke Todd, and the score was 14-13 in favor of the Lady Pioneers with two minutes to play.
Providence capped the first quarter with a basket by Rauck and a three-point play by Brooks, and the first eight minute stretched ended with the Lady Pioneers in front, 19-13.
The lead swelled to seven as the Lady Pioneers got a freethrow from Olivia Jenkins; but Switzerland County responded with a freethrow by Todd, a freethrow by Hope Tankersley, and a three-pointer by Konkle to draw to within two points, 20-18, with 3:43 to go until halftime.
But that’s when everything went cold.
Providence finished the second quarter with 10 straight points, and it could have been worse because the Lady Pioneers missed the front ends of one-and-one bonus opportunities in the run which could have made it worse.
The teams headed to the halftime break with Providence in front by a score of 30-18.
It didn’t get better as the third quarter got underway, as two baskets by Libs, a three-pointer by Hannah Wolford, and two freethrows by Hornung capped a run of nine straight points, giving Providence a 39-18 cushion.
In the midst of the run, Todd headed to the bench after being hit with her fourth foul of the game; and everything stopped at the 3:34 mark when Phagan, scrabbling after a loose ball, hit her head hard on the gym floor, resulting in a stoppage of play of over 20 minutes until she was ultimately taken off the floor by stretcher and transported to the hospital. (Note: tests showed that she suffered a concussion, but had no structural damage to her neck or back).
Konkle finally stopped the run after play resumed, hitting a key three-pointer with 2:57 to go, but when Providence followed that with baskets by Rauck and Mia Fougerousse, the Lady Pacers couldn’t make up much of the deficit.
Tankersley wrapped the third quarter with a freethrow, but the period ended with the Lady Pioneers in front, 43-22.
Rauck started the final period with a three-pointer for Providence; and Todd got the Lady Pacers on the board with a runner in the lane. Rauck hit another three-pointer and Jenkins followed that with a basket to make the score 51-24 with 4:51 to go.
Switzerland County made its longest run of the game moments later, getting a basket from Konkle, two straight three-point plays by Todd, and a jumper from Mathews to climb to within 17 points, 51-34, but the deficit was just too big to overcome.
Kinley Morton wrapped up the scoring with a freethrow in the final seconds, and the game ended with Providence in front, 51-35.
Todd led Switzerland County with 11 points; while Konkle had 10 and Mathews finished with nine. Tankersley and Phagan had two each; and Morton contributed one.
Providence was led by Brooks with 11 – all in the first quarter; Rauck with 10; and Libs with 10.
In the junior varsity game, Providence defeated Switzerland County 58-39.
Morton had 13 to lead the Lady Pacers; while Sierra Hamilton and Jody Breeck had five each; Emerson Schroer and Maggie Clayton each had four; Lexie Lay had three; Kinslea Griffith and Caitlynn Morris had two each; and Hailey Gerster contributed one.