The season of the Switzerland County Lady Pacer varsity basketball team came to an agonizing end on Tuesday night in the opening round of the South Ripley Sectional. After battling back and forth against a bigger and more physical North Decatur squad, the Lady Pacers fought right down the final seconds before bowing by a 35-34 score.
Kelsi Konkle opened the game with a three-pointer; and after the Lady Chargers got baskets from Andrea Volk and Jenna Meyer; Switzerland County got an inside bucket from Eve Galbreath. North Decatur then got a three-pointer from Mary Hughes, but the Lady Pacers responded with a freethrow from Eve Galbreath and a basket from Brooke Todd to take an 8-7 lead.
A basket by Jenna Meyer made the score 9-8 in favor of North Decatur at the first break.
Jenna Meyer then opened the second quarter with a three-pointer that gave North Decatur a four point lead; but the Lady Pacers went on an offensive run, kicked off by a three-point play by Eve Galbreath and followed by two baskets from Brooke Todd and a pair of freethrows from Bre Ricketts.
That spurt pushed Switzerland County out to a five point lead, but then it was time for North Decatur to respond, and the Lady Chargers ran off four straight points to climb back within one. Eve Galbreath then scored again inside; and when Jenna Meyer scored again in the closing seconds, the teams went to the halftime break with Switzerland County holding a 19-18 lead.
Just as she did to open the game, Kelsi Konkle opened the second half with a three-pointer; and after Jenna Meyer scored again for North Decatur, Eve Galbreath broke free and scored again inside.
With Switzerland County holding a 24-20 advantage, North Decatur then went on a run of eight straight points to go up by four with 1:29 to play in the period.
Makenzie Mathews scored to break that run, but another basket from Jenna Meyer gave North Decatur a 30-26 lead with one quarter left to play.
Switzerland County quickly tied up the game with a basket by Brooke Todd and a rebound put back from Makenzie Mathews. Andrea Volk scored to put the Lady Chargers back in front, but then it was time for another Lady Pacer run.
Brooke Todd scored three straight points on freethrows, and Makenzie Mathews followed that with a freethrow to give Switzerland County a 34-32 lead with 2:50 to play, and after both teams tried to take control but couldn’t manage to convert a basket, the game entered its final minutes with the Lady Pacers in front.
The game hit a critical juncture when the Lady Pacers had trouble getting the ball upcourt against the North Decatur press. As the clock moved towards 10 seconds, Switzerland County head coach Ashley Chase raced down the sideline frantically trying to call a timeout to avoid the turnover – and everyone in the gym saw her signal except one of the three people that mattered – the referees.
The violation gave the ball back to North Decatur and raised the voices of the Lady Pacer faithful, but Jenna Meyer converted again and the game was tied at 34-34.
It remained that way until the game clock got down to 20-seconds, and when Jenna Meyer converted the front end of a one-and-bonus freethrow attempt, North Decatur had again edged out to a one point lead.
Switzerland County fought valiantly to try and score to retake the lead, but the game clock hit zeros without another score, and North Decatur escaped with a 35-34 win.
The loss brings to an end the Switzerland County season; while North Decatur now moves on to the Sectional semifinal tomorrow (Friday) night against Milan.
Brooke Todd led Switzerland County with 11 points, while Eve Galbreath was also in double figures with 10. Kelsi Konkle added six points; Makenzie Mathews had five; and Bre Ricketts chipped in two points.
Jenna Meyer led North Decatur with 16 points.