For the four years that the Rivertown Classic Basketball Tournament has included girls teams, South Dearborn has claimed each and every championship.
That all came to an end Saturday night, as the Switzerland County Lady Pacers got a balanced offensive effort and some strong defense to defeat Lawrenceburg and claim the title.
Jaclyn Ranz, who was named as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, opened the championship game with a three-pointer, and Ashley Chase followed that with a freethrow to quickly put the Lady Pacers up by four.
Ashley Chase fought through both games of the tournament in spite of an injured knee that she was trying to rehabilitate after suffering the injury at the Southwestern Tournament on New Year’s Eve. She presence on the court forced Lawrenceburg to account for her every movement, which allowed other members of the team to step up and make some big contributions.
Sara Vorbroker of Lawrenceburg finally got the Lady Tigers on the scoreboard with a short jumper in the lane, but Switzerland County reeled off two straight baskets by Brittany Cole and then played stingy defense the remainder of the quarter to take an 8-2 lead into the first break.
Kodi Driver made a freethrow to extend the lead as the second period got underway, but Ayrica Harvey scored to narrow the lead just a bit.
Jaclyn Ranz quickly silenced that, connecting on her second three-pointer of the game to stretch the lead back to eight. Lawrenceburg then got baskets from Alicia Haney and Ayrica Harvey to get within four; but after a Switzerland County timeout the Lady Pacers got a three-pointer from Kodi Driver and a freethrow by Ashley Chase to again ease out to a comfortable lead.
Two Lawrenceburg freethrows and two baskets were all matched by Ashley Chase down the stretch, and the two teams went to halftime with Switzerland County leading by a score of 22-14.
Playing injured, Ashley Chase still managed eight points in the opening half; while Jaclyn Ranz had six.
Sophomore guard Ashley Bright got the third quarter underway with a three point play to extend the lead to 11; but the Lady Tigers came right back with seven straight points to make the score 25-21.
Switzerland County responded to the Lawrenceburg run with a basket by Brittany Cole and another three-pointer from Jaclyn Ranz; and after Jayna Kohorst scored for Lawrenceburg; baskets by Holly Jackson and Jaclyn Ranz made the score 34-23 with two minutes to play.
Jayna Kohorst scored again for Lawrenceburg, but Holly Jackson got a put-back bucket moments later. A freethrow by Lady Tiger Kelli Taylor made the score 36-26 in favor of Switzerland County at the end of the third quarter.
Ashley Bright opened the final period with a basket; and when Ashley Chase followed that with two straight buckets, Lady Pacers fans began to celebrate in the stands as the clock wound down toward a championship.
Courtney Cole then added two freethrows; and after Jayna Kohorst scored for Lawrenceburg; a nifty baseline drive and layup by Jaclyn Ranz put the exclamation mark on the tournament. Ashley Chase then scored again in the middle of the lane; and Sara Vorbroker connected on what was a meaningless three-pointer.
The clock hit 0:00 — and Switzerland County celebrated its first-ever Rivertown championship with a 50-35 victory.
Jaclyn Ranz led the Lady Pacers with 15 points on the night; and Ashley Chase finished with 14 in a heroic effort. Brittany Cole finished with six points; Ashley Bright had five points; Holly Jackson and Kodi Driver added four each; and Courtney Cole added the remaining two.
Sara Vorbroker led Lawrenceburg with 12 points; while Jayna Kohorst was also in double figures with 10.
These two teams won’t miss each other for long, as the Lady Tigers come to Switzerland County for a jayvee and varsity contest tonight (Thursday). The junior varsity action will get underway at 6 p.m.