12/26/2013 3:00:00 PM Austin Clark's freethrow seals win over South Ripley, 59-58
Austin Clark is the 'go to' guy for this year's Switzerland County Pacer boys varsity basketball team, and on Friday night at arch rival South Ripley, the Pacers again went to their ace, and his freethrow with less than a second to play sealed an exciting, 59-58 win.
The victory pushed the Switzerland County record to a perfect 5-0 on the year, but it wasn't an easy as some may have thought, as the Pacers survived a three-point shooting barrage by the Raiders.
The first quarter was one of runs, as South Ripley stayed in the contest on the strength of its outside shooting. Austin Halcomb got the home crowd into the action early, hitting a three-pointer to open the contest.
Austin Clark got the Pacers on the board with an inside bucket, but Raider Joe Dicken hit another three-pointer to make the early lead 6-2.
Switzerland County went on a run, scoring nine straight points. Austin Clark opened the run with two straight baskets, followed by a jumper from Ben Curran and a three-pointer by Chase Ritch. That gave Switzerland County an 11-6 advantage with 4:52 to play.
Then it was South Ripley's turn to make a run, and the Raiders responded with a streak of 12 straight points.
Austin Halcomb opened the run with a jumper and closed it with a pair of freethrows, and in between Logan Linkmeyer hit two straight treys and a two-pointer.
T.J. White stopped that run with a rebound basket; and at the end of the opening quarter the Raiders held an 18-13 lead.
Logan Linkmeyer opened the second period with another three-pointer; but the Pacers rallied on baskets by Nathan Hunters and Chase Ritch. After Julian Carpenter scored for the Raiders, Hunter Hayes, coming off the bench due to foul trouble for the Pacers, hit a huge inside basket, and when Austin Clark scored moments later, Switzerland County had climbed back within two, 23-21.
South Ripley's Trent Moorhead then hit a jumper; but Riley Phagan's three-pointer made the score 25-24 in favor of the Raiders with 2:44 to go.
Switzerland County then went on another run, with a basket by Ben Curran giving the Pacers another lead, and that was followed by another bucket from Hunter Hayes and a layup and short jumper from Austin Clark to give Switzerland County a seven-point lead, 32-25.
Joe Dicken's three-pointer, South Ripley's sixth of the half, drew the Raiders to within four, 32-28, at the halftime break.
Austin Halcomb opened the third quarter with a basket that drew the Raiders to within two; but Braden Burk matched that. Trent Moorhead hit a three-pointer; but again Ben Curran hit another clutch basket to keep the Pacers in front. Trent Moorhead's freethrow kept things interesting, with the Pacers up by two.
Again Switzerland County made a big run when it needed to, getting a basket from Braden Burk, a layup from Austin Clark, and two jumpers in the lane from Ben Curran gave the Pacers an 10-point lead with just under three minutes to go.
South Ripley came out of a timeout and got a bucket on the baseline from Austin Halcomb; but the Pacers closed the third quarter with two freethrows and a basket by Austin Clark, and the Pacers held a 48-36 lead heading into the final period.
Austin Clark kept the offense rolling as the fourth quarter started, pushing the lead up to 14; but South Ripley would put together a run over the final eight minutes that would make things very interesting.
Trent Moorhead hit a three-pointer and Austin Halcomb followed that with another basket; but Switzerland County got a freethrow and a basket from T.J. White to keep the lead in double figures.
Trent Moorhead then had a traditional three-point play; but Austin Clark powered his way to the basket at the midway point of the quarter, and it appeared as though Switzerland County would pull away.
The Raiders then got a three-pointer form Caleb Huntington; Joe Dicken hit a freethrow; and Austin Halcomb hit another baseline jumper, cutting the lead down to five.
T.J. White got a rebound basket to break that run; but Austin Halcomb converted two freethrows. After Chase Ritch made a freethrow, Caleb Huntington drilled another three-pointer, and with a minute to play, South Ripley had pulled to within three.
The teams went back and forth for the final minute, and with just 16-seconds left, South Ripley's Chase Samples was fouled attempting a three-pointer.
The junior went to the freethrow line and made all three attempts, tying the game, and bringing the fans from both teams to their feet, cheering on their squads.
The Pacers brought the ball down under pressure, and poured the ball inside to Austin Clark, who powered through a fortress of South Ripley players, and was fouled by Caleb Huntington with just :0.06 to play.
The senior missed the first attempt, but calmly hit the second attempt in clutch fashion, and when South Ripley's desperation toss at the end fell short, Switzerland County escaped with a 59-58 win.
Austin Clark led all scorers with 23 points; and Ben Curran was also in double figures, closing an outstanding all around game with 10 points.
T.J. White had seven points; Chase Ritch added five points; Braden Burk and Hunter Hayes each had four points; Riley Phagan had three; and Nathan Hunter contributed two.
Austin Halcomb led South Ripley, finishing with 17 points; while Trent Moorhead had 12 points. Logan Linkmeyer was also in double figures with 11 points, but was held scoreless in the second half by a stingy Switzerland County defense.
The Pacers converted 24 two-pointers in the game and had two three-pointers. Switzerland County didn't help themselves from the freethrow line, going just 5-for-11 from the stripe.
South Ripley had an unusual final line, making nine two-pointers and 10 three-pointers. The Raiders were also 9-for-13 from the freethrow line.
In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated South Ripley by a score of 37-32.
Dakota Fuller led the Pacers with 10 points in the contest, while Hunter Hayes added nine points and Justin Green had six.
Kollin Hayes had four points; Zach Whitaker and Caleb Furnish had three points each; and Brody Splain had two.