The biggest rivalry in Southeastern Indiana was contested again on Friday night as Switzerland County and Rising Sun renewed their battle in Vevay.
The Shiners came into the contest ranked #13 in the state in Class 1A; while the Pacers were looking to rebound from a hard-fought battle against Christian Academy, which is ranked #8 in Class 1A.
Friday night’s game was everything fans of both squads have come to expect, and at the end it was Switzerland County coming out on top after 32 minutes, 60-53.
Jake McClellan got things rolling with a basket for the Shiners; and after Caleb Furnish matched that with a pair of freethrows, Rising Sun got two charities from Kurtis Armstrong to keep the early lead.
Justin Green tied things up for the Pacers; but the Shiners got a basket by Armstrong and a three-point play by Nick Sporleder to move out to a five point lead with 4:48 to go.
Furnish hit a jumper to stop that run, but Armstrong came right back with a three-point play.
The Pacers then heated up offensively, getting a three-pointer by Dakota Fuller and a rebound and put back bucket by Zach Whitaker to draw to within one; but Sporleder got free inside for a basket.
Hunter Hayes hit a freethrow; but McClellan hit two charities; and with 1:25 to go, the Shiners held a 16-12 advantage.
The Pacers made another run, getting an inside basket from Hayes; and when Whitaker worked inside for a rebound and a put back while drawing the foul, the resulting freethrow closed an exciting first quarter with Switzerland County in front, 17-16.
The second quarter started with Switzerland County’s Austin South scoring; but that’s when Rising Sun started rolling.
The Shiners got baskets from McClellan and Derrick Eldridge and a freethrow from Mitchell Morris to push Rising Sun back in front by two; but Furnish countered that with a long three-pointer, and the lead continued to move back and forth when Eldridge got free inside to reclaim the lead for Rising Sun.
Freshman Tyler Konkle drilled a big three-pointer for the Pacers and Hayes followed that with two freethrows to make the Switzerland County lead four; and after Rising Sun’s Jack Sullivan converted two freethrows; another three-pointer by Furnish pushed the Pacer lead to 30-25 with three minutes to the half.
The Shiners regained the lead when Sullivan scored again inside, followed by two freethrows by Brady Murray and a basket by McClellan; and the Pacers closed the half when South hitting a big three-pointer that sent the teams to the lockerrooms with Switzerland County holding a 33-31 advantage.
Whitaker hit a three-pointer to open the second half for the Pacers; but Morris came back with a basket in the lane to get within three.
Switzerland County kept rolling with a basket by Whitaker and another three-pointer by Furnish; and after Armstrong scored for the Shiners, Furnish scored and McClellan matched that.
Up by six, Switzerland County made a run, with Furnish scoring and Hayes following that with a pair of baskets, and with 2:24 to go, the Pacer lead was double figures, 49-37.
Sullivan stopped that with a freethrow, and the third quarter came to an end with the Pacers up 49-38.
Sporleder opened the final stanza with a bucket; but the Pacers got a basket from Fuller and Furnish’s fourth three-pointer of the night to open up a 14 point advantage.
Rising Sun responded.
The Shiners got a long, long three-pointer from Armstrong; and after Hayes made two freethrows for the Pacers, Rising Sun got a three point play by McClellan and a basket by Morris; and moments later a bucket by Murray drew the Shiners to within six with just over two minutes to go.
Fuller made a pair of freethrows; and the Pacers had the chance to extend the lead at the charity stripe; but both Hayes and Green missed the front ends of one-and-ones in the final minute.
Fuller made a freethrow with 42-seconds to go; and Shiner freshman Noah Pflum came off of the bench to hit a key three-pointer that kept the outcome in doubt.
But that was as far as things got, as Fuller hit another freethrow to wrap up the scoring, and the Pacers pulled out the victory by a final margin of seven points to retain possession of the “Ruler of the River” trophy, 60-53.
Furnish led the Pacers with 20 points; with Hayes in double figures with 11 and Fuller had nine. South had five points; Konkle three and Green two.
McClellan led a balanced Shiner attack with 13 points; with Armstrong also in double digits with 12 points. Sporleder had seven points; Morris and Sullivan each finished with five; Eldridge had four; and Pflum had three.
Neither team created a work of art at the freethrow line, as Switzerland County was 12-for-24 from the line; and Rising Sun was 13-for-23.
In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated Rising Sun 33-27.
Kyle Whitham led the Pacers in scoring with 10 points and also added six rebounds; while Justin Chatham finished with six points and four rebounds.
Tyler Konkle had five points and four rebounds; Austin South also had five points; and Andrew Youngblood contributed three points and four rebounds. Dalton Tingle had two points to go with his four rebounds; and Zack Wainscott had two points and three rebounds.