The year was 1991, and Kristal Kelly was powering the Switzerland County Lady Pacers to an outstanding season. After winning the Sectional, the Lady Pacers traveled to Columbus North High School to take on the host Lady Bulldogs in the first round of the Regional.
That game, a win by Switzerland County in what was then a single-class tournament, has stood for 24 years as the only basketball Regional win in school history.
That is, until Monday night.
After facing two game delays due to the winter storm, the Paoli Regional finally got underway on Monday night, and the Lady Pacers wasted no time in making some history of their own, defeating North Posey High School by a 49-35 count to advance to the Regional final.
Switzerland County achieved the milestone in the same way they battled through the season, with timely scoring, smothering defense, and a strong inside game by senior Eve Galbreath.
Galbreath accounted for 28 points on Monday night – 19 of those in the second half – and when she converted the second of two freethrow attempts with 6:38 to go in the fourth quarter, she passed Missy Ellegood and became Switzerland County’s all time leading scorer for girls basketball.
That record had stood for 26 years.
Both teams showed some Regional jitters as the contest opened, with Makenzie Mathews breaking the scoring ice before North Posey bounced right back with three straight points to grab an early lead.
Brooke Todd then tied the game with a freethrow, but the Lady Vikings got a basket from Kayla Sanford. Galbreath then scored inside, but that was the extent of the first quarter scoring, and the teams went to the first break tied at 5-5.
Cidney Colbert opened the second period scoring with a jumper; but the ball again went inside to Galbreath, who converted for the Lady Pacers.
Things got tense seconds later when Galbreath was hit with her second foul of the half with 7:10 to go, sending her to the bench to avoid further foul damage.
North Posey got baskets from Ally Brandenstein and Kaitlyn Blankenberger to move out to a four-point lead, but after a Switzerland County timeout, Todd scored on a short jumper to cut the lead down to two.
Sanford scored again for North Posey; but Hailee Lay matched that with a jumper from the baseline. The Lady Vikings then had a mini run on two straight baskets b y Brandenstein, and with 3:26 to go North Posey held a six-point lead, 17-11.
Facing the biggest deficit that her squad had seen in the entire tournament, Coach Ashley Kitts put her senior center back into the game with three minutes to go in the half, and Galbreath rewarded her by avoiding a costly third early foul.
Mathews drilled a three-pointer to draw to within three, but Brandenstein came right back to push the lead back to five.
As they have done all season at critical times, Switzerland County poured the ball inside to Galbreath, and she responded by scoring the quarter’s final five points – and as the first half came to a close, nothing had been decided, as the teams were locked in a 19-19 tie.
Switzerland County was hot coming out of the break, and the Lady Pacers scored nine straight points to take control.
Galbreath started the run with a bucket and Lay followed that with a three-pointer. Mathews then converted a rebound and a put back bucket and Galbreath capped the run with another score down low.
North Posey would go nearly six minutes without a score, but Brooklyn Hamman got free and converted a three-point play, and North Posey refused to go away quietly.
Galbreath scored inside; Brandenstein matched that; and again Galbreath scored down low – her fourth basket of the quarter – and at the end of three periods, Switzerland County was in front by eight, 32-24.
Todd opened the final stanza with a freethrow; but Sanford hit a three-pointer for the Lady Vikings to keep things close. Galbreath then scored inside again – her 19th points of the game – and that set up history.
At the 6:38 mark, Switzerland County’s offense pushed the ball inside to Galbreath, and she was fouled in the act of shooting by North Posey’s Brandenstein.
The senior – clueless that she was on the verge of the record – saw her first attempt bounce off, but when the second found the range, Switzerland County had a new all time leading scorer – and a nine point lead.
Mathews then pushed the lead to double figures with a freethrow moments later; and the Switzerland County defensive pressure began to take its toll on North Posey.
The Lady Vikings got two freethrows; but again the Lady Pacers went on a run: getting two more baskets and two freethrows from Galbreath and another bucket from Mathews, and with three minutes to go, the outcome was decided and Switzerland County held a 16-point lead.
North Posey got two straight baskets to give their fans some hope, but Switzerland County responded with baskets by Kelsi Konkle and Galbreath and the offense patiently moved the ball around, killing the clock and looking for uncontested buckets.
Coach Kitts inserted her subs into the game with a minute left and the celebration began, and at the final horn the scoreboard showed Switzerland County in front by 14, 49-35.
Galbreath’s monster game fueled the win, as she finished with 28 points. Mathews was in double figures with 10; Lay had five; Todd four; and Konkle two.
Brandenstein led North Posey with 15 points.
The win established a school record for victories in a season for a Switzerland County team with 21.