Pacers drop chance to claim ORVC crown with 66-53 loss to Jac-Cen-Del


The Switzerland County Pacer varsity basketball team had the chance to claim the conference championship of the Ohio River Valley Conference for only the third time in school history last Friday night when the Pacers traveled to Jac-Cen-Del.

Optimism about a conference title will now have to wait, however, as the Pacers dropped a 66-53 decision and now need help to secure a portion of the title. The loss finishes the Switzerland County conference schedule with a 5-1 record; while Jac-Cen-Del still has conference games left against Rising Sun and South Ripley.

If the Eagles lose both games, the Pacers would win the conference outright. If Jac-Cen-Del loses one of those, then the Pacers and the Eagles would share the title. If the Eagles sweep both games, Switzerland County would finish second in the conference race.

On Friday night, the Eagles came out hot on their home floor, running off to a 5-0 lead on the strength of junior Matt Gehl.

The Pacers responded, getting two straight buckets inside from junior Clay Meyer to cut the lead to one; but the Eagles got baskets from Matt Gehl and Gerald Hardesty to move back in front by five.

Following a Switzerland County timeout, Brennan Bragg got free inside for a bucket for the Pacers; but Jac-Cen-Del then scored four straight to push the lead to seven. A Devon Armstrong basket temporarily stopped the bleeding for Switzerland County, but two freethrows by Matt Gehl moved the lead back to seven with 3:32 to play in the opening quarter.

That’s when the Pacer offense caught fire, reeling off eight straight points to close the period.

Kyle Green made the front end of a two shot penalty; and when the second freethrow bounced off, Daniel Welch grabbed the carom and put it in for two more.

Clay Meyer followed that with two more baskets, and Mark Sharp made a freethrow, and at the end of the first quarter, Switzerland County had battled all the way back to claim a 16-15 lead.

Jac-Cen-Del opened the second quarter with two straight baskets by Tim Arnett, but Kyle Green’s jumper sliced the Eagle lead back to one.

That’s when the Jac-Cen-Del offense flexed its muscle, going on a 14-6 run over the remainder of the quarter to take a 33-24 lead at halftime.

Switzerland County got a three-pointer and a basket from Kyle Green during the run, and Devon Armstrong made a freethrow.

Jac-Cen-Del then slowly built on its lead in the second half, trading baskets with the Pacers throughout much of the third period.

Switzerland County got another bucket from Kyle Green, a freethrow from Devon Armstrong, and baskets by Clay Meyer and Brandon Otter, but with 3:30 to play in the half, the Pacers had only managed to get back within seven, 38-31.

Eric Horan made a three-pointer for the Eagles to extend the lead back to 10; and a Clay Meyer basket was the marker that the Pacers had the rest of the period.

With one quarter to play, Jac-Cen-Del held a 45-33 advantage.

The fourth quarter again saw the two teams battle back and forth, with neither squad being able to make a sustained run. Switzerland County got a freethrow from Mark Sharp; two charities from Daniel Welch, and a three-pointer by Kyle Green, but couldn’t keep the Eagles from the basket, as Jac-Cen-Del maintained its 12-point lead.

Switzerland County got back within 10 with baskets by Brennan Bragg and Kyle Green, but the Eagles then got a three-point play from Gerald Hardesty to stem the tide.

Freethrows were again the Achilles heel for Switzerland County, as the Pacers managed to make only 5-of-9 freethrows in the final period – and were just 9-for-19 for the game.

Kyle Green had five points as the game wound down; with Mark Sharp, Brandon Otter, and Devon Armstrong also providing points in the final minutes.

Perhaps the most devastating news for the Pacers came with 2:46 to play in the final quarter, when forward Clay Meyer crumbled to the floor while fighting for a defensive rebound. He was helped to the bench by teammates and checked by a Jac-Cen-Del medical official on duty, and did not return to the game.

An MRI on Monday afternoon confirmed that the 6’2″ junior has a broken ankle, and is lost for the remainder of the season.

The loss of their starter put a damper on an already depressing evening, and the final horn sounded with Jac-Cen-Del holding a 66-53 lead.

Kyle Green led the Pacers with 20 points on the night; while Clay Meyer contributed 12 big points before leaving with the bad ankle. Devon Armstrong had five points in the game; while Daniel Welch, Brennan Bragg, Mark Sharp, and Brandon Otter each finished with four points.

Matt Gehl led Jac-Cen-Del with 21 points; while Gerald Hardesty finished with 15 and Tim Arnett had 10.

The Pacers now prepare for Sectional play with their regular season finale tomorrow (Friday) night at home with Madison. It will be Senior Night, with Pacers Devon Armstrong, Michael Haas, Brandon Otter, Codey Turner, and Daniel Welch being honored between the junior varsity and varsity contests.


The Switzerland County junior varsity team defeated Jac-Cen-Del on Friday night by a final score of 37-32.

Travis Tackett led the Pacers with 15 points and nine rebounds; while Josh Hon added six points and Noah Hughes had five points.

Tanner Ross, Kendall Otter, Alec McAlpine, Kameron Pavy, and Justin Reagan each finished with two points; and Tray Meyer chipped in one.

The win improves the jayvee record to 13-6 overall and 4-2 in the conference.