It’s been a tough year for coach Travis Wrightsman’s Switzerland County Pacer varsity basketball team, and the squad’s string of tough luck continued last Saturday afternoon in a tough loss to Rising Sun.
Holding a lead for three quarters, the Pacers went into the final period with a 10-point lead, 36-26 — but couldn’t hold it, and fell by a final score of 48-44.
The Pacers came out hot, with Nate Geyman opening the scoring with a three-pointer and Mason Covington followed that with an inside bucket for the 5-0 early lead.
Chris Bowne got Rising Sun on the board with a three-pointer, but the Pacers responded with two freethrows and a three-pointer by Ben Hicks to stretch the lead to seven.
Rising Sun then got two freethrows from Damon Carrigan; but Bryce Wrightsman connected on a freethrow for the Pacers. Landon Cole split the defense and scored inside for the Shiners, but Jacob Williams muscled his way inside for a bucket that kept the Pacer lead at six.
A final basket by Cole closed the first quarter with Switzerland County holding a 13-9 advantage.
Rising Sun applied some pressure as the second quarter opened, getting two freethrows by Brady Works to narrow the lead to two; but Mason Covington answered that with a pair of charities to again extend the lead. Cole got free inside and converted; but Williams matched those points with two freethrows. Bowne scored to keep the back-and-forth action going; but the Pacers got a bucket from Hicks and a great offensive rebound off of a miss by Canaan Johnson that lead to a freethrow; and with 1:33 to go before halftime, Switzerland County held a 20-15 lead.
Dylan Martin sliced into that with a three-pointer for Rising Sun; and Geyman ended the half like he began the game — with a three-pointer, and that sent the Pacers into the lockerroom with a 23-18 lead.
The third quarter saw more back and forth play, as Covington opened the half with a basket inside; but Cole connected on a three-pointer to keep things close. Wrightsman then converted a traditional three-point play that pushed the Pacer lead to seven; but the Shiners responded with a three-pointer by Carrigan.
Switzerland County then got a freethrow from Williams and a jumper from Hicks, and again the lead was seven with just over two minutes to play in the period.
The Shiners got a bucket from Chase Kuehn; but Switzerland County then ended the quarter on a run of five points — getting two freethrows from Williams, a freethrow from Hicks, and a basket from Hicks at the horn.
With eight minutes to go, Switzerland County was in control with a 36-26 lead.
Rising Sun caught fire in the fourth, with Peyton Merica and Martin each hitting baskets to narrow the Pacer lead to six. Williams then converted a freethrow; but Cole had a three-point play, and the lead was suddenly down to four.
Williams and Wrightsman each made freethrows that extended the lead back to six; but Rising Sun got a basket by Kuehn and a three-pointer by Merica, and with just under five minutes to go, the Pacers were holding a one-point advantage, 39-38.
The Pacers appeared to catch a break at the 4:52 mark when Kuehn was hit with a personal foul and then a technical, and Wrightsman converted three of those four freethrows that pushed the Pacer lead back to four.
Cole then made a freethrow for the Shiners, and Martin followed that with a jumper, and with 3:33 to go, again Switzerland County was clinging to a one-point lead, 42-41.
Geyman scored for the Pacers to provide some breathing room with 3:02 to play — but those would be the last points that the Pacers would score in the contest.
Cole made two freethrows to pull Rising Sun to within one; and then the senior made a jumper at the one minute mark that gave the Shiners their first lead of the game.
Carrigan made two freethrows down the stretch and Cole made one more, and as the final horn sounded, Switzerland County let a win slip away by a final score of 48-44.
Switzerland County was led in scoring by Hicks, who finished with 12; and he also had three rebounds and an assist.
Williams had nine points and eight rebounds to go along with an assist; Geyman had eight points, an assist, a block and six rebounds; and Wrightsman finished with eight points, two assists and a rebound.
Covington had six points, five rebounds and a steal; and Canaan Johnson had one point and four rebounds.
In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated Rising Sun by a score of 47-36.
The leading scorer for the Pacers in the contest was Dylan Sullivan with 13 points; while Levi Curlin had nine.
Austin Hemingway had seven points; Canaan Johnson had six; Aiden Furnish and Aiden Griffith had four each; Trace Johnson had three; and Colton Tolbert finished with one.
Nate Elliott had 17 points to lead the Shiners.