Mark Sharp’s 24 points leads Pacers to conference win over Rebels, 58-44

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Point guard Mark Sharp spent the first meeting between the Switzerland County Pacers and the Southwestern Rebels being chased and followed all over the court in an effort to contain his effectiveness.

On Friday night, the Rebels chose a different course of action in an effort to defeat the Pacers, but now free to roam the floor and make plays – this time Mark Sharp made them pay.

The senior scored a game-high 24 points in leading Switzerland County to a 58-44 victory, earning the Pacers another win in the conference race.

In the first meeting between the teams, Southwestern raced out to a 14-0 lead; and early in Friday night’s game, it appeared that history would repeat itself.

The Rebels scored the game’s first six points until Mark Sharp hit a short jumper with 4:08 to play; and when he trumped that with a three-pointer moments later, the Pacers were quickly right back in the game.

Southwestern’s Caleb Jones then hit a three-pointer; but Mark Sharp connected on a runner in the lane and Travis Tackett followed that with a three-pointer, pushing the Pacers out in front by a 10-9 score with 1:37 to go.

Tanner Mahoney quickly swung the lead back to the Rebels with a jumper, but Brennan Bragg closed the first quarter with a power move to the basket, and the Pacers retook the lead at the first break, 12-11.

Kyle Green opened the second period with a 15-footer; and Clay Meyer followed that with a layup underneath, pushing Switzerland County out to a 16-11 lead. Tanner Mahoney answered that with a three-pointer for the Rebels, but Noah Hughes drilled a three-pointer moments later to keep the lead at five.

With the score standing at 21-16 with 3:30 to play, Southwestern made a run of three points on a freethrow and a basket to climb to within two; but the Pacer offense closed the first half with a three-pointer by Kyle Green and a basket by Mark Sharp to take a 26-19 advantage into the halftime break.

After Southwestern opened the second half with a bucket, the Pacers got a freethrow from Kyle Green and another from Mark Sharp; but the Rebels kept up the pressure with baskets by Austin Ames and Tanner Mahoney.

Leading by three, Switzerland County went on another offensive burst, outscoring Southwestern 11-6 over the period’s final four minutes.

Scoring was a team effort, with points provided by Brennan Bragg; another three-pointer by Noah Hughes; a basket by Mark Sharp; two freethrows by Kyle Green; and a basket by Clay Meyer.

With a quarter to play, the Pacers held a 39-31 lead.

Travis Tackett, only a week removed from being carried off of the South Dearborn floor on a stretcher, drilled a three-pointer to open the final stanza; but Southwestern wouldn’t go away, getting a runner from Austin Ames.

Both teams then traded the next four points, with Mark Sharp accounting for all four for the Pacers. Austin Ames the connected on a freethrow at the 4:24 mark, narrowing the Pacer lead to 46-38.

The Pacers then took the lead to 12 on baskets by Mark Sharp and Brennan Bragg; but those buckets would set off a period of nearly two minutes where neither team scored and play was marked by sloppy execution and missed freethrows.

Tanner Mahoney broke the logjam with a freethrow; and after Brennan Bragg scored again down low; the Rebels made a run behind a three-pointer from Franklin Totten and a bucket from Austin Ames.

Seeing their lead cut to eight, Switzerland County got a basket from Mark Sharp; a freethrow from Kyle Green; another basket from Mark Sharp; and a freethrow from Brennan Bragg to cap the victory, 58-44.

The win was a team effort, with six different players notching the scoring column. Along with Mark Sharp’s 24 points; Switzerland County got nine points each from Kyle Green and Brennan Bragg; with Noah Hughes and Travis Tackett each finished with six. Clay Meyer chipped in the other four.

Austin Ames led Southwestern with 15 points; while Tanner Mahoney finished with 12.

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In the jayvee game, Switzerland County rolled its record to 7-1 with a 43-33 win.

Blake Whitham led the Pacers with 16 points on the night; while Keegan Kincaid was also in double figures with 15.

Tanner Ross had five points; Alec McAlpine added three; and Adam Clark and Danny Schira contributed two points each. Tray Meyer chipped in one point.

Both the junior varsity and varsity teams are back in action tomorrow (Friday) night as Rising Sun visits the Pacer gym. The jayvee game gets underway at 6 p.m.; and Homecoming festivities will be held between games.