Friday night’s girls varsity basketball game between the Switzerland County Lady Pacers and the Madison Lady Cubs was a tale of two quarters — two good and two bad — for Switzerland County. The result was a 50-37 loss to Madison.
Early season jitters hit the young Lady Pacer crew early, as they managed only three points — all from the freethrow line — in the first eight minutes of play. Madison got rolling early by putting pressure on the Lady Pacer ball handlers, and converting inside opportunities to take a 15-3 lead after one quarter.
Switzerland County got two freethrows from Maddie Duvall and a freethrow by Aleiah Thomas to account for their points.
As cold as the offense in the first period was, the second was exactly the opposite for Coach Mark Boggs’ troops.
Switzerland County scored 20 points in the quarter, outscoring their guests 20-15 to climb back to within seven — 30-23 — by halftime.
After Thomas hit two more freethrows to open the second quarter scoring, Jaden Harrell got the Lady Pacers’ first bucket with a layup at the 7:05 mark. That basket started a run of eight straight, as Thomas and Josie Meyer connected on three-pointers.
Those baskets narrowed the lead down to six, and forced a Madison timeout.
After a Lady Cub freethrow, Switzerland County got a pair of freethrows by Keirstan Oeffinger to get to within five with four minutes until the half.
Madison countered, getting a three-pointer from Jade Nutley, a freethrow by Paige Young, and two more freethrows from Nutley to extend the lead back to 11. Switzerland County followed that run with another three-pointer by Thomas; and after Nutley made two more freethrows, Maddie Duvall hit a freethrow to get back within nine.
Lundun Perry made a basket for Madison; but Switzerland County then made a run at the end of the half, getting a basket from Maddie Duvall and two freethrows from Lexi Lay to get the deficit down to seven, 30-23, at the halftime break.
One of the more unusual events of the first half came when Madison starter Harper Watson fouled out of the game, drawing her fifth and final foul with six seconds left in the first half.
After the outstanding second quarter, Switzerland County came out of the halftime break and saw its offense fall flat again.
The Lady Pacers did not score in the period until Harrell made a bucket with just 38-seconds left in the quarter.
Madison, meanwhile, scored 13 points in the third, including nine by Nutley and four by Young, and with a quarter to play, Madison had pulled away to a 20-point lead, 43-23.
The final eight minutes saw the Switzerland County offense find its rhythm again, outscoring Madison 12-7, but it wasn’t enough to erase the deficit.
After Madison’s Jordyn Bilz opened the fourth quarter scoring with a basket; Switzerland County went on a run, getting a field goal and a three-pointer from Lay and a basket by Harrell to cut the lead down to 13. Nutley followed that with a three-pointer; but Harrell came back with a freethrow. Thomas made another freethrow; and after Madison’s Daeja Jay hit a bucket; the game closed with Maddie Duvall drilled a three-pointer.
Thomas led the way with 10 points, and she also had seven rebounds. Maddie Duvall had eight points, three rebounds, and a blocked shot; Harrell had seven points and a rebound; and Lay also had seven points, four rebounds, and an assist.
Meyer had three points, three rebounds, and an assist; and Oeffinger had two points, seven rebounds, and two assists.
Rylee Hankins didn’t score in the game, but was a presence inside with six rebounds and a pair of assists; and Jessie Duvall chipped in four rebounds and an assist.
Nutley led all scorers with 24 points.
(Note: some local connections: Nutley is the daughter of former Switzerland County basketball player Lynn (Bovard) Nutley; and Bilz is the daughter of Switzerland County Hall of Fame basketball player Missy (Ellegood) Bilz)
In the junior varsity game, Madison defeated Switzerland County 45-21.
The Lady Pacers were led in scoring by Rochelle Bolton and Hannah Hayes, each of whom had six points; while Josie Meyer had three and Jayden Thomas, Hannah Coghill, and Keirstan Oeffinger had two points each.