Pacer season ends in Sectional semifinals with 59-46 loss to Lawrenceburg

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The most successful season in Switzerland County boys basketball history came to a sudden end on Friday night in the semifinals of the Class 2A Sectional held at South Ripley; when the Pacers ended their year with a 59-46 loss to Lawrenceburg.

The loss concluded the Switzerland County season with a record of 18-5. No Switzerland County boys team in history has ever recorded 18 wins in one campaign, but that was bittersweet for a Pacer team led by eight seniors.

It was the third time that Switzerland County and Lawrenceburg had played this season; with the Pacers claiming a one point win in the Rivertown Classic and the Tigers picking up a one point victory late in the regular season.

Lawrenceburg was led early by hot-shooting senior Justin Ricketts, who made the first two shots of the game for the Tigers. Those buckets were sandwiched between a jumper by Switzerland County senior Travis Tackett to open the game, and an inside bucket by Brennan Bragg the saw the game tied at 4-4 early.

After Justin Ricketts scored again to give Lawrenceburg a two point lead; the Pacers got another basket by Travis Tackett and a three-pointer by Noah Hughes to push out to a three-point lead. Evan Schoeff capped the opening quarter scoring, hitting two freethrows to bring the Tigers to a 9-8 deficit; and both teams limped to the break after eight minutes of bruising and physical basketball.

Brennan Bragg scored inside again to push the Pacers back out to a three-point lead; but Evan Schoeff answered that moments later with a three-pointer to again tie the score.

Like a great prize fight, the two teams continued to trade offensive “punches”, only to see the other respond with a flurry of their own.

Brennan Bragg made a freethrow; but Lawrenceburg got a basket to go up by one. Josh Hon then converted a three-point play to again put the Pacers back up by two; but again Justin Ricketts caught fire, hitting two straight baskets to bounce the Tigers back in front.

Brennan Bragg again scored inside, and when Keegan Kincaid hit a freethrow moments later, the Pacers were back in front by an 18-17 score with 3:23 to play.

Lawrenceburg made a run, getting baskets by Jake Rennekamp, Aaron Frizzell, and Justin Ricketts to push out to a 23-18 lead.

A three-pointer by Switzerland County’s Tray Meyer cut that down to two, and the teams headed to halftime with Lawrenceburg on top by a 23-21 score.

One of the shortcomings of the Switzerland County team was at the freethrow line, where the Pacers were just 3-for-6 in the first half. It would be a situation that would prove critical in the second half.

After Travis Tackett tied the game with a jumper to open the third quarter, Justin Ricketts again got free to put the Tigers back in front. Brennan Bragg responded with a three-point play inside to put the Pacers back in front by one; but that’s when the Pacer offense went flat.

Lawrenceburg got baskets by Aaron Frizzell and Justin Ricketts; and after Tray Meyer missed a pair of freethrows, a basket by Lawrenceburg’s Travis Conover extended the lead to five.

Brennan Bragg scored again to cut the lead to three; but Justin Ricketts hit a three-pointer and Jake Rennekamp made a pair of freethrows, and with 3:30 to play, Switzerland County found itself down by eight, 36-28.

Josh Hon then made a runner and was fouled, but he also missed his freethrow attempt. After Jake Rennekamp scored again; Tray Meyer failed to convert on the front end of a one-and-bonus situation at the freethrow line; and moments later Alec McAlpine also missed the front end of his one-and-one opportunity.

Lawrenceburg’s Matt Davis then converted two freethrows; followed by Tray Meyer missing the front end of another one-and-one.

Tray Meyer did rebound moments later to make a pair of freethrows; but a Travis Conover jumper in the closing seconds gave Lawrenceburg a 42-32 lead with a quarter to play.

Over the eight minute stretch, the Pacers were 3-for-9 from the line, including missing the front end of three one-and-one opportunities.

Jake Rennekamp opened the final period with a basket to put the Tigers up by 12; and Lawrenceburg then got charitable from the freethrow line itself – missing four straight freethrows, including the front ends of two one-and-ones.

But the Pacers couldn’t take advantage, going more than three minutes without scoring.

Tray Meyer finally got the Pacers in the fourth quarter scoring column with a baseline jumper, but that only drew Switzerland County to within 10, and time was running out.

Lawrenceburg got a freethrow and a basket by Justin Ricketts to extend the lead to 13 – and with 3:27 to play Switzerland County fans began to see the writing on the proverbial wall.

Brennan Bragg converted a three-point play to get the deficit back to 10; but Lawrenceburg got a basket and two freethrows from Matt Davis and a pair of charities from Jake Rennekamp to swell the lead to 53-37 with 2:16 to go.

Those freethrows came at the expense of ending the high school careers of Switzerland County’s Josh Hon and Travis Tackett, both of whom picked up their fifth fouls and had to leave the floor.

Noah Hughes hit a basket and Brennan Bragg converted another three-point play; but eventually Pacer head coach Brian Bowen began to substitute for his seniors, giving the Switzerland County faithful the opportunity to applaud the players on an outstanding season and career.

The final horn saw the Tigers in front by a 59-46 final.

Brennan Bragg capped his career with a 20 point effort; while Tray Meyer finished with nine. Travis Tackett, still battling a knee injury suffered late in the regular season, had six; while Josh Hon and Noah Hughes each finished with five. Keegan Kincaid contributed one point.

Lawrenceburg was led by Justin Ricketts with 22 points; while Jake Rennekamp had 12 and Matt Davis had 10.

On Saturday in the Sectional finale, Lawrenceburg lost to South Ripley; and the Raiders now advance to the Regional this Saturday at Connersville.