Coming off of a big conference win on Friday night over Southwestern, the Switzerland County Pacer varsity boys basketball team traveled to South Ripley on Saturday night, and as the Pacer offense sputtered, the squad ran into a buzz-saw of a Raider attack, falling by nine, 59-50.
Although the final score showed just a nine point difference, it was really ever that close of a game, as South Ripley used a suffocating defense combined with some key outside shooting and solid inside play to keep the Pacers at bay for most of the contest.
The Raiders raced out of the gate to an 8-2 lead, with Alex Curran managing the Pacers’ only field goal over the first four minutes of the quarter. Chase Ritch hit a basket and Trevor Smith made a three-pointer, but Switzerland County was never able to string together an offensive run.
The Raiders countered with three-pointers from Joe Dicken and Caleb Huntington and an inside basket by Cody Federmann; and after Alex Curran closed the period with a basket, after one South Ripley led by an 18-9 score.
Caleb Huntington opened the second quarter with a jumper to push the Raider lead to 11; but Switzerland County looked to be getting on track after Clint Swanson and Trevor Smith each converted a basket.
With the lead down to seven, Switzerland County couldn’t hold it, as Caleb Huntington drilled a three-pointer from the corner; and after Austin Clark scored inside, Joe Dicken made a three-pointer that again extended the lead to 11.
Switzerland County responded, getting a basket by Austin Clark, a freethrow by Alex Curran, and a lay up from Clint Swanson to slash the lead down to six, but Caleb Huntington again got free, and his jumper at the buzzer made the score 28-20 in favor of the Raiders after one half of play.
South Ripley really opened things up as the third quarter got underway, going on an 11-4 run to extend the lead up to 15 points. Clint Swanson had both baskets for the Pacers, as Switzerland County tried to solve the South Ripley defensive puzzle.
Austin Clark converted a freethrow, but Joe Dicken countered with a jumper; and a three-pointer by Trevor Smith could only pull Switzerland County to within 13, 41-28, with a period to play.
Austin Halcomb opened the final quarter with a freethrow for South Ripley, and the Pacers got their offense going with baskets by Austin Clark and Braden Burk to close to within 10.
Again South Ripley responded, getting baskets by Austin Halcomb and Trey Sparks and a three-pointer by Trey Sparks to move the lead up to 17 points with five minutes to play.
Switzerland County put together a run, starting with a three-pointer by Austin Clark and a freethrow from Trevor Smith. Braden Burk followed that with a jumper and then a three-pointer, and when Trevor Smith raced through the lane and found the range, with 3:27 to play Switzerland County was back within six, 49-43.
It would get closer.
Cody Federmann scored inside to stop that run, but the Pacers got a baseline jumper from Alex Curran and another basket from Austin Clark, and the deficit was down to four with 2:05 to go.
That’s where the Switzerland County offense stalled, as South Ripley reeled off four straight points on freethrows by Trey Sparks and Austin Grider; and after Austin Clark made one freethrow attempt, the Raiders got two more from Trey Sparks to seal the win.
A Chase Ritch jumper closed the game and made the final score 59-50 in favor of South Ripley.
Austin Clark again led the Pacers, finishing with 13 points; while Trevor Smith continued his solid play to finish in double figures with 11. Clint Swanson had eight points; Braden Burk added seven points; Alex Curran finished with six; and Chase Ritch contributed five.
Trey Sparks led South Ripley with 15 points; with Caleb Huntington contributing 12 points and Cody Federmann adding 11.
One the real telling statistics came at the freethrow line, where the Pacers were just 4-of-10 while the Raiders finished 10-of-15.
In the junior varsity contest, Switzerland County defeated South Ripley by a 43-33 score.
Ben Curran was the leading scorer for the Pacers with 14 points; while Riley Phagan had nine points and Justus Powell finished with eight. Nathan Hunter had six points; while Zach Whitaker and Riley Pegg each had three points in the game.