Pacers close regular season with loss to Madison, prepare for tournament play

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It wasn’t how Coach Brian Bowen and his Switzerland County Pacer varsity basketball team would have liked to end the season; but after falling to Madison on Friday night by a score of 64-62 the Pacers now set their sights firmly on this week’s Class 2A Sectional tournament.

Madison celebrated Senior Night on Friday, and the Cubs got off to a fast start by scoring the first seven points of the contest. Switzerland County finally got its scoring underway when Kyle Green connected on a three-pointer; but another Cub basket put Madison out in front, 9-3.

The Pacers then got another three-pointer from Kyle Green and an inside bucket by Brennan Bragg to cut the lead to one; but Madison’s Luke Jones connected on a three-pointer to halt the run. Brennan Bragg then scored again inside, but Madison got another three pointer – the Cubs would make five in the opening stanza – and the Pacers trailed by five.

Travis Tackett hit a three-pointer to cut into the lead, but that was matched by another trey from Luke Jones. Moments later another three-pointer gave Madison a 21-13 advantage.

Mark Sharp then hit a runner for two; and seconds after sub Alec McAlpine checked into the contest for the first time, he drained a three-pointer that cut the lead down to three.

Madison answered with two straight inside baskets by Luke Jones; but Mark Sharp’s basket at the buzzer made the score 25-20 in favor of the Cubs after one hectic-paced period.

After a needed rest by both teams, the second quarter got underway with Travis Tackett converting a jumper for the Pacers and Donnie Malcomb making a pair of freethrows for the Cubs. The teams then exchanged three-pointers, with Travis Tackett providing the long-range bomb for Switzerland County; and Kameron Pavy also connected on a key jumper in the lane to keep the Pacers close.

Kameron Pavy’s bucket sparked a run of 11 straight points for Switzerland County, as the Pacers got a rebound bucket from Clay Meyer and a jumper from Noah Hughes that gave them the lead for the first time in the game; and Travis Tackett followed that with another three-pointer and Kyle Green hit a driving layup.

With 2:48 to play, Switzerland County was leading by a score of 36-30.

Madison got a couple of freethrows to stop the run; but Clay Meyer then converted a traditional three-point play off of a tremendous pass from Noah Hughes to make the lead seven.

After Madison scored again, Kyle Green hit a baseline runner; and when Luke Jones hit a three-pointer in the closing seconds, Switzerland County headed to halftime holding a 41-37 advantage.

Madison scored four straight points to open the second half and tie the game; but two Kyle Green freethrows stopped that run. Luke Jones made a freethrow for Madison; but Mark Sharp countered that with a jumper.

The teams took turns counter-punching each other offensively, but the third quarter was marked by neither team being able to move out to a lead.

Kyle Green had a freethrow and a three-pointer to close out the scoring for the Pacers, and after three quarters Switzerland County held a slim, 49-48 advantage.

Clay Meyer opened the final stanza with a basket inside; but Madison got baskets from Luke Jones and Donnie Malcomb to push back in front by a point. Those would be followed by six more points from the Cubs, and when Coach Bowen called a timeout with 4:45 to play, the Pacers found themselves down by seven, 58-51.

Again Switzerland County rallied, getting inside baskets by Brennan Bragg and Clay Meyer; a pair of freethrows by Brennan Bragg; and a two-pointer by Mark Sharp to retake the lead at 59-58 with 2:43 to play.

Madison then connected on a huge three-pointer; but Brennan Bragg got free inside to again tie the game at 61-61.

But that would be the final basket that the Pacers would score in the game, getting only a freethrow from Kyle Green at the 1:05 mark as Madison connected on a freethrow and an inside basket by Luke Jones – which proved to be the final margin of victory.

The Pacers had their chances, however, as Switzerland County had the ball with 25-seconds to play and down by two when Mark Sharp’s pass to Kyle Green bounced out of bounds. Forced to foul, the Pacers put Luke Jones on the freethrow line, and when the front end of his one-and-one bounced free, the Pacers again had the ball with the chance to win or tie the game with 10-seconds left.

But racing upcourt, the Pacers lost control of the ball – and with it control of the game, losing by a final score of 64-62.

Kyle Green led Switzerland County with 17 points; and both Mark Sharp and Brennan Bragg were in double figures with 10 each. Clay Meyer and Travis Tackett each finished with nine points; while Alec McAlpine had three and Noah Hughes and Kameron Pavy each contributed two.

Luke Jones led Madison with 15 points; and Donnie Malcomb finished with 12.

It was a game for fans who love offense, as Switzerland County made seven three-pointers in the game; and Madison converted eight.

The loss ends the Switzerland County regular season with the Pacers holding a 16-5 mark; including going 5-1 on conference play. The Pacers now enter Sectional play at Greensburg having lost three of their last four games; but those were to state-ranked Lawrenceburg and Jac-Cen-Del; along with Madison.

Switzerland County was scheduled to play South Ripley last night (Wednesday) in the first game of the Sectional, which is being hosted by North Decatur but being played in the Greensburg High School gym.

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The junior varsity game also saw a disappointing ending, with the Pacers losing to Madison by a score of 51-49; but it did feature an outstanding performance by Switzerland County freshman Keegan Kincaid.

Keegan Kincaid finished the game with 27 points, including going 7-for-8 from three-point range; and also contributing two rebounds and two steals.

Tanner Ross added eight points, four assists, and three rebounds; Tray Meyer had seven points and four rebounds; and Alec McAlpine finished with three points and three assists.

Adam Clark had two points and three rebounds; Calen Otter had two points and two assists; Danny Schira added four rebounds; and Zach O’Neal had a steal. Team members Blake Whitham and Damon Robbins also contributed to the strong performance.

The loss closes the junior varsity season with the Pacers holding a 14-4 overall record.