Switzerland County placed four players in double figures and powered their way past South Dearborn in the semifinal round of Thursday night’s Rivertown Classic Basketball Tournament by a score of 81-55.
Senior Austin Clark led the way with 24 points; while Chase Ritch had 16 points and T.J. White and Ben Curran each had 10.
Chase Ritch opened the game with a jumper, but South Dearborn got two straight baskets to take an early lead. Ben Curran tied the game with a leaner in the lane, but South Dearborn got a three-pointer from Jeff Wohlfrom. Braden Burk scored for Switzerland County, but Ryan Howell converted a freethrow to keep South Dearborn in front, 8-6.
Switzerland County then flexed its offensive muscle, getting five straight points from Austin Clark. A three-pointer from Ian Rutzel tied the game at 11-11; but a pair of freethrows from Ben Curran pushed the Pacers in front by a 13-11 count after one quarter.
Switzerland County launched more offensive firepower as the period opened, scoring 12 straight points.
Riley Phagan opened the second quarter with a three-pointer and Braden Burk followed that with a runner that gave the Pacers a seven-point lead. Austin Clark then scored inside; Chase Ritch made a three-pointer; and Austin Clark followed that with a couple of freethrows.
That made the score 25-11 with six minutes until halftime.
South Dearborn stopped the run with a basket by Blake Kirkey; but Switzerland County’s Tyler Gabbard nailed a three-pointer from the corner. After South Dearborn got another basket, Ben Curran scored again; and the Knights got another three-pointer from Jeff Wohlfrom.
The Pacers bounced back with two freethrows from T.J. White and another jumper from Chase Ritch; and Chase Ritch would also make a three-pointer sandwiched between two jumpers from Blake Kirkey to go into the half with Switzerland County leading 37-22.
The third quarter was a big one offensively, with Switzerland County outscoring South Dearborn by a 23-20 count.
Austin Clark did much of the damage in the period, accounting for 11 points, most of that doing the heavy work inside against multiple Knight defenders.
T.J. White had four points in the quarter; Ben Curran had four points; and Chase Ritch made it a trio with four points – his coming on a four-point play after being fouled while converting a three-pointer.
With a quarter to play, Switzerland County was in front, 60-42.
The Pacer offense kept running in the final quarter, outscoring South Dearborn by a 21-13 count to clinch the victory.
Again, Austin Clark powered the Pacers to the win, scoring huge baskets inside and finding open teammates when the defense collapsed in around him.
The senior center accounted for another four points before giving way to the bench players as the Pacers cruised to the win.
Braden Burk had four points in the closing quarter; T.J. White had a bucket as did Chase Ritch.
The game closed with Tyler Gabbard, Kollin Hayes, and Nathan Hunter all getting baskets, and Nathan Hunter also had a freethrow; and Switzerland County rolled by a final count of 81-55.
Along with the four double-digit scorers, the Pacers also got eight points from Braden Burk; five from Tyler Gabbard; Nathan Hunter and Riley Phagan each had three points; and Kollin Hayes contributed two.
South Dearborn was led by Jeff Wohlfrom with 19 points; and Blake Kirkey had 12 points.
The win moved the Pacers into the tourney’s championship game against Lawrenceburg. Tigers defeated Rising Sun 68-57 in the opening round.