Pacers again ‘rule the river’ as Switzerland County claims 60-49 victory over Rising Sun

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Last year in its inaugural season, the traveling “Ruler of the River” trophy never left Switzerland County – as Pacer teams defeated Rising Sun squads in all four meetings.

The trophy finally went to Rising Sun earlier this year when the Lady Shiners defeated the Lady Pacers – but it didn’t stay in Ohio County long, as the boys varsity team reclaimed the trophy on Friday night with a 60-49 win over their rivals.

The game was a typical Switzerland County-Rising Sun battle, as both teams opened with up and down play and tight defense. Rising Sun eased out to a 12-10 lead by the end of the opening period, but fans for both teams knew that it was going to be an exciting night.

Switzerland County’s offense got hot in the second period, outscoring Rising Sun 20-10 in the stanza to claim a six point lead, 30-24, at halftime. But it wasn’t as easy as it appeared, as the Shiners tied the game at 15-15 early in the quarter, and continued to pour the ball inside to seven-footer Zeph Vaughn.

That’s when Pacer coach Brian Bowen went to a 2-3 zone in order to better contain the Shiner center, and the move paid off.

Offensively, senior Devon Armstrong recorded a rare four-point play; and when Daniel Welch scored inside moments later and Brennan Bragg followed that with a tough basket inside, the Pacers had an eight-point advantage.

After some back and forth scoring for the rest of the half, Mark Sharp’s buzzer beater brought Pacer fans to their feet and sent both teams to the lockerroom for the break.

Switzerland County moved the advantage to double figures during the third quarter, leading by as many as 11 points before Rising Sun got its offense back and track and made a run.

Switzerland County fought their guests off, and as the third stanza closed, this time it was Kyle Green who beat the buzzer, handing the Pacers a 42-32 lead with eight minutes to play.

Rising Sun has displayed offensive balance all season, and as the final period opened, coach Brian Graham’s troops again made a run. Using a combination of inside play and some timely three-pointers, Rising Sun charged – but the Pacers were ready, as well, converting at critical times to never let Rising Sun get closer than six.

With the lead at six and time slipping away, Switzerland County sealed its sixth win of the season with three straight baskets from Brennan Bragg, Mark Sharp, and Brandon Otter.

Kyle Green led a balanced attack for Switzerland County, finishing with 14 points, two rebounds, and three assists. Mark Sharp was also in double figures, adding four rebounds, three assists, and four steals to his 12 points.

Devon Armstrong had nine points; and Brandon Otter also had nine points and also contributed three steals. Daniel Welch again had a monster game inside, contributing seven points and 11 rebounds to the effort.

Brennan Bragg continued his outstanding play with four points and five key rebounds; Michael Haas had three points and a rebound; and Clay Meyer had two points and four rebounds.

Switzerland County was again excellent at the freethrow line, converting 14-for-18 for 78-percent; while Rising Sun managed just 4-for-8 for 50 percent. That differential helped offset the hot shooting Shiners, who had five three-pointers in the game.

Zeph Vaughn led Rising Sun with 17 points.