Lady Pacers fall to Madison in overtime to open campaign

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The Switzerland County Lady Pacer varsity basketball team got its season underway on Friday night with a home game versus Madison, and after a nip-and-tuck battle throughout the night, it took overtime to decide the outcome before Madison emerged with a 57-51 win.

“That’s one of those games that we felt like we gave it away,” Lady Pacer coach Wayne Ellegood said. “We had them beat, but made a couple of errors there at the end. It’s something that we have to move on from, grow from, and learn from. We’ll try and do better next time about putting people away.”

Coach Ellegood said that his team competed very well, but just couldn’t finish off Madison once Switzerland County had the lead.

“Defensively I thought we played very well,” Coach Ellegood said. “We made too many turnovers, but defensively we played well and I thought offensively we played pretty well. We’ve just got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball. I think it’s something that our players see as a place to improve.”

The Lady Pacers committed 28 turnovers in the contest.

The game was Switzerland County’s to claim, as the Lady Pacers led 13-8 at the end of the first quarter and 24-18 at the half. Coach Ellegood said that he felt that he got outstanding play from several players, but noted that junior Kelly Kincaid had an outstanding game offensively as she came back from a knee injury that wiped out the entire second half of the season last year.

“I think Kelly had a real nice game, especially when you figure that it was her first game coming off of a knee injury,” Wayne Ellegood said. “She finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, which was an outstanding night.”

Highlighting Kelly Kincaid’s opening night was her long range shooting, as the junior when 4-for-5 from three-point range.

The game also saw outstanding performances from seniors Kristen Perry and Trisha Smith.

Kristen Perry, who will be the focus of most opposing defenses this year as they look to stop the three-year starter, finished with 15 points on the night; while Trisha Smith had seven points and pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds.

“I thought both Kristen and Trisha had tremendous games,” the coach said. “They are two of our seniors and we look to them for leadership, and they came through against Madison. They were a big plus for us.”

Out of the halftime break, Madison outscored Switzerland County 12-10 in the third stanza, but Switzerland County had its chances early, moving out to a nine-point lead at 34-25 before Madison rallied with the final five points of the quarter to narrow the lead down to four, 34-30, heading into the final eight minutes of play.

The fourth quarter was a tense one with both teams trying to gain some breathing room from the other, but both defenses held strong through much of the period. A Lady Pacer turnover with less than five seconds to play and with Switzerland County holding a one-point lead gave Madison possession; and when Lady Cub Hannah Cain was fouled on her way to the basket, it looked like Madison might pull out a last second victory.

But Hannah Cain only managed to hit one of the freethrows, sending the two teams to an extra four-minute period tied at 47-47.

The overtime continued to be a close battle, with Madison grabbing a four-point lead; only to see the Lady Pacers cancel that with baskets by Trisha Smith and Kristen Perry that tied the game at 51-51 with a minute to play.

But those would be the final points on the night for Switzerland County, and Madison scored the final six points of the contest, and emerged with the victory.

“I’m disappointed that we lost, but I’m not disappointed in how our kids played,” Wayne Ellegood said. “We fought hard and battled all the way.”

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In Friday night’s junior varsity game, Switzerland County fell to Madison by a score of 38-22.

Ashley Watson led the Lady Pacers with nine points, and she also had five rebounds. Emily White had six points three rebounds; Olivia Hewitt had five points and five rebounds; and Vickie Abbott finished with two points.