Maggie Armstrong’s breakout game fuels Lady Pacers to 48-30 win over Milan

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Going on the road for the first time this season, the Switzerland County Lady Pacers headed to Milan on Tuesday night after a solid week of practice. Still trying to find their varsity legs, head coach Wayne Ellegood and his coaching staff knew that if the team’s work ethic in practice transferred to the game; things were going to go well.

After throwing away their first four possessions of Tuesday’s game, the Lady Pacers did settle down, and that calmness transferred to a 48-30 conference win over the Lady Indians.

“We felt that as long as we could take our practice to the game and not get too nervous, we’d be fine,” Coach Ellegood said. “With so many new players, we need to get them over their nerves in a game. We were really excited about our practices and the girls have been working really hard, and we saw that on Tuesday.”

The big win was fueled by the offensive outburst of junior Maggie Armstrong. Targeted as one of the team’s offensive weapons heading into the season, her coach noted that she was still working through some game time nerves during the first three games of the year.

“She really shot the ball well for us,” Coach Ellegood said. “It was probably her career game to this point. We’ve been waiting for her to break out like that. She’s been a little uptight, but that took care of itself in the game.”

The junior was 9-for-17 from the floor, including 2-for-4 from behind the three-point line; and also had four rebound and four steals.

Another bright spot early in the season is senior Jenna Daugherty.

“Jenna had another outstanding game for us, and that’s back-to-back games that she’s really played well,” the coach said. “She had eight points and 13 rebounds on Tuesday after recording a double-double against Rising Sun. She’s really coming on for us.”

But while Maggie Armstrong and Jenna Daugherty were spotlighted on Tuesday, the Lady Pacer coach was quick to note that he’s very proud of all of his troops at this point in the year.

“Overall I thought all of our kids did a good job,” Wayne Ellegood said. “Nine people played significant minutes for us against Milan, and our depth and team play is really coming along.”

An example in the coach’s eyes of that team concept was the play of sophomore Kristen Perry on Tuesday. Looked to to carry the offensive load this year, the coach said that his sophomore star had “a little off night shooting” against Milan; but along with four points, she also contributed 10 rebounds, three blocked shots, two steals, and two assists.

“That’s what will make us a better team, seeing players give those kinds of contributions,” the coach said.

Coach Ellegood also hailed his defense Tuesday night, as Milan managed to score in double figures in only one quarter – the last one; and the Lady Indians only had two points in the entire third period.

“All of them are learning, and I’ve been very happy with them,” Coach Ellegood said of his team. “Our kids are working extremely hard in practice and its showing. I can see a difference in them everyday.”

After both teams played a tight first quarter, Switzerland County emerged with an 8-6 lead; and then expanded that lead to 18-14 at the half.

The third quarter was really a critical one, as the Lady Pacers outscored their hosts 16-2 over the eight-minute span, grabbing a commanding 34-16 lead with just eight minutes to play.

The fourth quarter was dead even, with both teams scoring 14 points each; but it was a big win in several ways for the lady Pacers, 48-30.

The win evens the team’s record at 2-2 on the year; and it also makes them 1-0 in conference play. Because the Lady Pacers play Rising Sun twice during the year, the second game is considered the conference game for ORVC standings.

Switzerland County was led by Maggie Armstrong and Jenna Daugherty; but also got six points from Carrie Truax and four points each from Kristen Perry, Hailee Smith, and Lindsay Scott. Becca Sittloh also had two points.

Kelly Stutler led Milan with 12 points.

For the game, Switzerland County was 22-for-53 from the field (41.5-percent); while Milan was 12-for-57 (21.1-percent). Switzerland County also won the rebounding war by a margin of 47-33.

The Lady Pacers now return home to play South Decatur tonight (Thursday). Coach Ellegood said that the Lady Cougars like to push the tempo and run up and down the floor and shoot from the perimeter, and those are things that his team will need to adjust to.

“As long as we continue to do the right things and maintain our composure, we’ll be fine,” Wayne Ellegood said.