3/13/2014 3:00:00 PM Outstanding season ends suddenly
as Pacers fall to Milan in Sectional
The Switzerland County Pacers came into Friday night's semifinal game of the Southwestern Sectional ranked 11th in the state; but ran into a sharp shooting buzzsaw in Milan; and after a ferocious comeback attempt, the Switzerland County season on the short end of a 67-62 decision.
Milan jumped out to an early lead that the Pacers spent the rest of the game trying to overcome; but the game came down to a disastrous 37-seconds.
With 1:15 to play in the game, Milan held a 56-53 lead on a jumper from Logan Karsteter.
Switzerland County raced downcourt, and Ben Curran's runner in the lane cut the lead to one and sent the Pacer crowd into a frenzy.
Milan came down on offense, and Gavin Detraz was fouled out front. Shooting the one-and-one, Gavin Detraz made the first attempt to push the lead to two.
His second attempt bounced free, but Milan's Cooper Wade grabbed the rebound and made the put-back and the lead was up to four. Switzerland County came up court, but lost possession of the ball. Milan, back on the attack, saw Logan Karsteter get fouled inside, with the shot going in. The following freethrow extended the lead up to seven.
Moments later Gavin Detraz made two freethrows, and with 38-seconds to go - 37-seconds after Ben Curran cut the lead to one - the Indians held a nine-point lead, and the game was basically out of reach.
Switzerland County made one last run, getting a basket and a three-pointer from Austin Clark and a bucket from Ben Curran; but Milan made three freethrows down the stretch, keeping the lead at five points, advancing the Indians to the Sectional championship game.
It was a minute filled with intense excitement and overwhelming grief - and it symbolized the entire game.
Switzerland County jumped out early, getting baskets from T.J. White and Austin Clark to take a 4-0 lead off of the opening tip.
It would be the only lead that the Pacers would hold all night.
Milan's offense then exploded, getting baskets from Logan Karsteter and Travis Butte and a three-pointer from Gavin Detraz.
Austin Clark then tied the game at 7-7 with a three-point play, but again Milan went on a run; getting a three-point play by Logan Alloway, a steal and a layup from Logan Alloway, and the senior guard then made his third straight basket on a jumper.
Cooper Wade scored inside; Logan Alloway followed that with two freethrows; and Cooper Wade converted a freethrow to close the quarter.
At the end of the first quarter, Milan was in front 19-7; and the Switzerland County team and fans were in a state of shock.
The Pacers began the road back in the second stanza, getting two freethrows and a basket from Austin Clark to narrow the deficit to eight; but Milan responded with a three-point play from Logan Alloway to again put the lead into double digits.
Austin Clark scored two straight baskets, and Chase Ritch - hampered by the flu during the day - drilled a three-pointer, and the lead was down to four.
Again, Milan responded, getting a three-pointer from Jon Bixler to stem the tide.
T.J. White then scored inside for the Pacers, and Austin Clark made a freethrow, cutting the lead to four; but Milan got another basket from Travis Butte. Austin Clark made another freethrow; but Milan got a big three-pointer from Cooper Wade - whose outside shooting crippled the Pacers all night long - in the final seconds of the half, and the second quarter came to an end with the Indians in front, 30-22.
The third quarter started like the second, with the Pacers trying to trim the lead.
Austin Clark scored the first three points of the half on a basket and a freethrow; and suddenly the Pacers were down by just five.
The ongoing story of the night, however, was Milan's response to Pacer runs, and the third quarter started with Cooper Wade hitting a three-pointer, Logan Alloway hitting a pair of freethrows, and Cooper Wade hit another three-pointer - and Milan pushed the lead out to 13 points.
Then it was time for another Pacer run.
Austin Clark converted a three-point play; and that was followed by two huge three-pointers - one from the left corner and another from the right corner - and again the lead has dissolved down to four.
But, once again, Milan responded, getting a freethrow from Logan Alloway and one charity from Cooper Wade; a jumper from Cooper Wade and a runner from Logan Alloway off of a steal at the horn, and after three quarters, Milan was back in control, 44-34.
The final eight minutes of the Pacer season started with T.J. White converting a three-point play - but, again Cooper Wade got free for another three-pointer that negated the opening run.
Switzerland County got another basket from Austin Clark and a three-pointer by Chase Ritch to get back within five; but Travis Butte scored again. Tyler Gabbard hit his third three-pointer of the game at the 5:13 mark - and again the deficit was down to four.
But as it was all night; Milan scored to stop the Switzerland County run on a Logan Alloway jumper.
With the lead at six, Switzerland County got two freethrows from Ben Curran and a steal and a layup from T.J. White to slice the lead down to two. Logan Alloway hit a three-pointer that extended the lead back to five; and it was time for one last Pacer run.
T.J. White hit a layup and Ben Curran followed that with a pair of freethrows and the Pacer crowd roared as the deficit was down to one; but again Logan Karsteter hit a jumper that made the lead three.
That was followed by the lay up from Ben Curran, and put into motion the events of the final 75-seconds.
Austin Clark closed the second most prolific scoring career in Switzerland County history with 23 points, and added 12 rebounds to the effort.
T.J. White closed his senior season with 16 points; Tyler Gabbard had nine; Ben Curran added eight points; and senior Chase Ritch - generally considered the best outside shooting threat in the area - had two three-pointers to finish with six points.
As a team, the Pacers had 15 two-point field goals; six three-pointers; and were 12-for-18 from the freethrow line.
Milan was led by Logan Alloway with 25 points; and Cooper Wade had 20 points for the victors.
The Indians had 14 field goals; made eight three-pointers; and were 15-for-24 from the charity stripe.
The win pushed Milan into Saturday night's championship game against Austin, which defeated South Ripley 75-65 in Friday's other semifinal.
In the championship game on Saturday night, Austin won the title with a 68-56 win over Milan. The Eagles will play Clarksville (21-2, ranked #2 in the state) in this Saturday's Regional at Southridge High School.