Pacers claim win over South Ripley behind Bragg’s double-double

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Senior Brennan Bragg scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds on Saturday night as Switzerland County traveled to Versailles and came home with a big 63-56 victory over the rival South Ripley Raiders.

Brennan Bragg got the game started with a three-point play; but the Raiders roared right back, scoring seven straight points to keep the home crowd at a fever pitch. After Brennan Bragg scored again; the Raiders got a three-point play by Jimmy Hartman to extend the lead to 10-5.

Keegan Kincaid’s three-pointer for Switzerland County closed a low-scoring first quarter, and the period ended with the Raiders in front, 10-8.

Switzerland County seemed out of sync in the game, but their defense was just good enough to keep the Raiders close during the first quarter – and the offense finally caught fire to open the second stanza.

The Pacers reeled off eight straight points, fueled by a three-pointer and a basket from Josh Hon and a three-pointer by Travis Tackett, and once Raider coach Travis Wrightsman called a timeout to steady his troops, Switzerland County held a 16-10 lead.

That would expand by two coming out of the timeout on a basket by Tray Meyer, and with 5:11 to go in the half, the Pacers seemed to be on track.

That changed quickly.

As with most rivalries, there is no lead big enough in a Switzerland County-South Ripley game, and the Raiders proved that as they raced back with a run of seven straight points – all by Chase Grider – to get back within one.

Brennan Bragg scored inside again to stem the tide; but the Raiders got a basket from Danny Mayes and a freethrow by Jonathan Grossman, and with two minutes to play, the game was knotted at 20-20.

Seconds later Switzerland County coach Brian Bowen called a 30-second timeout and dressed his team down over its lackadaisical play, sending them back into the fray to redeem themselves over the final two minutes.

Brennan Bragg managed a freethrow; but a basket by Sam Stratton brought South Ripley all the way back, earning the Raiders a 22-21 lead at the end of the first half.

The halftime show featured tumblers from a local gymnastics facility in Versailles, and everyone enjoyed it – including the Pacer varsity team, which spent less than a minute in the lockerroom before being thrown out by their coach.

The time on the bench and the tirade must have ignited a spark, because the third quarter saw a determined and focused Switzerland County team.

Keegan Kincaid opened the scoring; followed by a three-point play by Brennan Bragg.

Both teams then traded baskets over the next three minutes; with Switzerland County getting buckets from Brennan Bragg and Tray Meyer and a big three-pointer from Alec McAlpine to maintain a five-point lead.

The lead then grew to seven; but a mental letdown in the final minute of the quarter led to four South Ripley points, and with a period to play, Switzerland County led 39-36.

The final quarter had the intensity of a championship fight, with both teams delivering hard, physical play that was answered by the other.

A huge turning point in the contest came with Raider center Thad Fleming, averaging nearly 18 points a game, fouled out with 5:15 to play in the contest. The Switzerland County interior defense had done an outstanding job of containing Thad Fleming throughout the game (he finished with just six points), but his absence allowed Brennan Bragg to exploit the interior of the South Ripley defense.

Switzerland County had an 11-4 run early in the final quarter to push ahead by a 50-40 score; and although South Ripley’s offense tried to respond, its defense couldn’t get a stop when it needed one, and the Pacer lead hovered at or near double figures the remainder of the contest.

Freethrow shooting was also big for the Pacers down the stretch, as they made eight in a row at one stage, finishing the game going 13-for-16 from the stripe to seal the win.

Keegan Kincaid’s pair of freethrows ended the contest with the Pacers in front, 63-55.

Along with Brennan Bragg’s 22 points; Switzerland County got nine from Keegan Kincaid and eight from Tray Meyer. Travis Tackett and Alec McAlpine each finished with seven; Josh Hon added five; Noah Hughes had four; and Tanner Ross contributed a point.

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In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated South Ripley by a score of 38-32.

Adam Clark led the Pacers with 12 points and five rebounds; while Blake Whitham also finished in double figures, collecting 11 points and handing out five assists.

Anthony Dennis had seven points and three rebounds; Tyler Queen had four points; Damon Robbins had two points and four rebounds; and Anthony Dasis had two points and three steals.