2/20/2014 3:00:00 PM Lady Pacers Sectional run ends with
triple overtime thriller against Southwestern
It was such a thrilling, breath-taking, exciting game, Saturday afternoon's Sectional semifinal game between Switzerland County and Southwestern was so big that 32 minutes of regulation wouldn't hold it.
So the teams played four minutes more.
And then four minutes more.
And then four minutes more.
And after four regulation quarters and three overtimes, Southwestern survived the battle; bringing an end to the Lady Pacer season, 51-48.
The story of the game, begins at the end; and an incredible run by Switzerland County.
The Lady Pacers struggled offensively throughout most of the first three quarters, and with just eight minutes to play in regulation, Switzerland County was down by five, 25-20.
Southwestern opened the final quarter with a three-point play by Cass Lawson; and making matters worse was that the foul was assessed to Switzerland County senior Bre Ricketts - her fifth.
Without their captain, the Lady Pacers began to battle back, getting an inside basket by Eve Galbreath; but Southwestern's Allison Bushong matched that, and as time began to be the enemy, things looked dim for Switzerland County.
But, just when things were darkest, the Lady Pacer charge began.
Baskets by Mercedes Parham and Brooke Todd were followed by two freethrows from Brooke Todd and the lead was down to two; but Southwestern's Debbie Hardy hit a big three-pointer to extend the Lady Rebel lead back to five.
But not for long.
Mercedes Parham hit a three pointer for Switzerland County; and Cass Lawson made a freethrow for Southwestern.
Makenzie Mathews then caught fire, connecting on two straight three pointers - the first tying the game and the second sending the Lady Pacers out in front, 37-34.
Cass Lawson's freethrow brought Southwestern to within two; and Austin Courtney's freethrow sliced the lead down to one.
With just under a minute to play, Brooke Todd made two freethrows that got Switzerland County's lead to three; but moments later Cass Lawson completed a three point play, tying the game at 39-39.
The first overtime began with Southwestern's Austin Courtney converting a freethrow, but Brooke Todd came right back with two freethrows to give Switzerland County a lead.
Problems came again moments later, when Allison Bushong raced down the lane and threw up a shot. The shot was off the mark, but the officials whistled Brooke Todd for a foul - her fifth and final - putting a second Switzerland County starter on the bench.
Allison Bushong made one of her attempts to tie the game, and Switzerland County held the ball with a chance for a final shot.
That didn't work, and the Lady Pacers were whistled for a double dribble with just over one second to play.
On the inbounds pass, Hailee Lay was able to steal the ball, but her halfcourt heave as the horn fell short, and the game was tied at 41-41.
Overtime number two.
The Lady Pacers jumped out to a quick lead, fueling the frenzy of an incredible Switzerland County crowd.
Eve Galbreath, the focus of the Southwestern defense all night long, converted two straight buckets to give the Lady Pacers a four point edge.
Debbie Hardy then connected on a jumper for Southwestern to get within two; and then both teams showed their nerves, with each squad missing a pair of freethrows.
Switzerland County still held a two-point lead, however, but that suddenly went away when Debbie Hardy was fouled while attempting a shot with just four-seconds to go. When the junior calmly sank both attempts, the game was tied at 45-45.
The third overtime began with another blow to the Switzerland County offense, as Makenzie Mathews was hit with her fifth and final foul. Austin Courtney made both freethrows, and as Southwestern applied some full court pressure, Switzerland County was hit with a 10-second violation for not advancing the ball over halfcourt within 10 seconds of inbounding it after the second freethrow.
The turnover was crushing, as Samantha Ison got a rebound off of a missed shot and made the bucket inside to push the Lady Rebel lead up to four.
Kelsi Konkle wouldn't give up, and her jumper with a minute to play drew Switzerland County back to within two.
Southwestern's Cass Lawson then managed one freethrow, opening the door for another Switzerland County run, and Erika Coy was fouled hard inside as she attempted a shot. She also made one of her freethrow attempts, again narrowing the lead back to two, but as Southwestern held the ball, Kelsi Brierly was fouled and made one of her freethrows; and when a furious Switzerland County race downcourt resulted in a long shot that fell off the rim, Southwestern had survived to move into Monday night's Sectional championship game against Austin, and the Lady Pacers were left looking at a long off season -- but a bright future.
Austin would go on to win the Sectional on Monday, defeating Southwestern 50-49 - in overtime.
As thrilling as the final quarter and the three overtimes were for Switzerland County fans - things started out right down awful.
The Lady Pacers could not get their offense on track at all, managing only three freethrows, one by Brooke Todd and two by Eve Galbreath, in the entire first quarter. Southwestern was having a bit more luck, and led 11-3 after the opening period.
The Switzerland County field goal drought would continue well into the second quarter, with freethrow shooting and solid defense the only things keeping the game from being a blowout.
Eve Galbreath would make the first field goal of the game for Switzerland County with 2:43 to play in the second quarter - but it would also be the only field goal that the Lady Pacers would convert in the half.
One field goal and nine freethrows gave Switzerland County 11 points, but Southwestern wouldn't manage much more offense, and at the half the Lady Rebels led 18-9.
Switzerland County opened the second half with three straight turnovers, and Coach Ashley Kitts called a timeout to try and settle the nerves.
Southwestern would get its lead to 12 on two occasions, as Eve Galbreath made another field goal and Brooke Todd a pair of freethrows trying to hold on.
Southwestern led 25-13 with two minutes to play - and it looked like the game was all but over.
And then it happened.
Kelsi Konkle hit a huge - HUGE - three pointer; and Brooke Todd followed that with two freethrows. As Southwestern brought the ball upcourt trying to regain its composure, Brooke Todd stole a pass and raced to the hoop.
Her layup brought the crowd to its feet and cut the deficit to just five, 25-20; and set up the wild final quarter.
And the three extra periods after that.
Brooke Todd led Switzerland County with 15 points; while Eve Galbreath battled her way to 12 points.
Makenzie Mathews had nine points in the loss; while Kelsi Konkle and Mercedes Parham each finished with five. Bre Ricketts and Erika Coy each added one point.
The Sectional loss brings to an end the high school hoops careers of seniors Bre Ricketts, Erika Coy, and Mercedes Parham; who have been stalwarts of the program for their four year careers.