The Switzerland County Pacer basketball team’s aspirations to claim the championship of the Rivertown Basketball Tournament at South Dearborn High School came up short on Saturday night, as the Pacers ran into a one man wrecking crew in the person of Rising Sun Shiner Noah Pflum, and the Pacers fell by a final score of 51-35.
Rising Sun, who had never earned the boys tourney title heading into Saturday night’s clash, got off to a hot start, with Pflum and Nick Koons hitting field goals and Landon Cole connecting on a three-pointer.
The Pacers didn’t dent the scoring column until Coby Chase hit a three-pointer at the 4:20 mark; but that was followed by baskets from Shiners T.J. Manifold and Pflum to make the score 11-3.
Switzerland County got a basket by Dalton Tingle to stop that run; but Wesley Rider scored for Rising Sun to close the opening period with the Shiners out front, 13-5.
Koons kicked off the secoTnd period with a basket that pushed Rising Sun’s lead up to 10; but Tyler Konkle converted a pair of freethrows to get the Pacer offense rolling. Koons then matched those freethrows; and at the 4:52 mark Pacer sharpshooter Damian Breeck, the focus of the Rising Sun defensive effort throughout the night, got into the scoring column for the first time with a three-pointer.
Rider then matched that with a three-pointer for the Shiners, again pushing the advantage into double figures.
The Pacers then closed the half on a run, getting baskets by Konkle and Tingle and another three-pointer by Chase to close the second quarter on a 7-0 that made the halftime score 20-17.
As close as the first half was, the second half was a one man show, as Pflum exploded offensively, slicing to the basket for layups and then posting up on the perimeter for jumpers. The senior would score all 15 points that Rising Sun recorded in the third period, and would extend that into the fourth quarter, reeling off 20 straight points before Koons made another basket with 3:49 to play in the game.
Switzerland County struggled, falling behind by as many as 15 points in the third; but the Pacers did manage to outscore the Shiners 8-2 over the final 3:28 — on three buckets by Tingle and a jumper from Chase.
After three, Rising Sun held a 35-25 lead.
The fourth quarter saw the Pacer offense continue to struggle from the floor, as Switzerland County managed just 10 points in the period: baskets by Konkle and Tingle and freethrows from Tingle, Konkle, and Breeck.
Rising Sun, in the meantime, posted 16 in the quarter to earn the tournament championship with a 51-35 win.
Tingle led Switzerland County with 15 points; while Chase had eight; Konkle had seven; and Breeck finished with five. For their efforts, Breeck and Tingle were both honored with inclusion on the All Tournament team.
Pflum, who would be named MVP of the tournament, finished with 27 points, while Koons was in double figures with 10.
Life doesn’t get any easier for the Pacers, as Switzerland County travels to Hanover tomorrow (Friday) to take on Southwestern, the top ranked team in the state in Class 2A; and then it’s a trip on Saturday to South Ripley to take on the always tough Raiders. A rematch with the Shiners is on the horizon, as the teams will play next Friday, January 18th, in a game where Switzerland County will celebrate Homecoming.