Last Friday night was the annual “Silent Night” Christmas game for the Switzerland County Pacer boys varsity basketball team – but it was the Rising Sun Shiners who had the last word, using a strong second quarter to break away for a 62-55 win.
The game was a typical Switzerland County-Rising Sun battle, with both teams taking turns making runs and tough defense being played on both sides.
The Pacers opened the game with a three-pointer by Austin South; but Nick Koons connected on a three-pointer for the Shiners to tie the score. Damian Breeck then hit a runner in the lane; but Rising Sun countered that with a three-pointer from Noah Pflum and a freethrow by Brent Turner to hold an early two point lead.
Switzerland County made a run, getting a three-point play from Kyle Whitham and an inside bucket by Tyler Konkle; and after Turner scored to snap that run; the Pacers got rolling again with a basket by Whitham off of an outstanding assist by South. Koons scored for the Shiners, and the Pacers matched that with a bucket by South off of an assist by Konkle.
A three-pointer by Jacob Bovard closed the quarter, and tied the game at 14-14.
Turner opened the second quarter with a basket; and Kaleb Harrell came off the bench to notch a bucket and tie the game. Jason McClellan pushed Rising Sun back in front; but that was match by South; and Turner scored again to give the Shiners another lead.
A key point in the period came next, when Harrell went to the line for a pair of freethrows, after missing the first, his second attempt also bounced off, but Cade Rider got position and pulled in the offensive rebound, and his put-back again tied the game at 20-20.
Harrell provided another offensive spark moments later with a three-pointer; but that was followed by a Rising Sun run. The Shiners reeled off 12 straight points: a three-pointer by McClellan; a three-pointer by Koons; two freethrows by Turner; a bucket by Bovard; and a basket by Turner – and with 1:41 to go, Rising Sun had a 32-23 lead.
South stopped that run with a basket in the final minute, but at the half the visitors held a 32-25 advantage.
The Pacers began the third period with a run, getting two freethrows by Konkle and a tip-in off of a miss by Breeck to close to within three. Again Rising Sun answered, getting baskets by Turner and Bovard; but that would be followed by a big run by Switzerland County.
The Pacers then ripped off seven straight points on a bucket by South; two freethrows by Konkle; and a three-point play by Breeck to tie the game at 36-36 with 3:40 left in the third.
But again the Shiners answered, as Koons hit a three-pointer and Bovard connected on another basket. South made a pair of freethrows for the Pacers; but Turner came back with a bucket, giving Rising Sun a 43-38 lead with just over two minutes to go.
Switzerland County bounced back, with Whitham making a basket and contributing a freethrow, and South had another bucket, and that tied the game for the eighth time, 43-43.
The quarter closed with Pflum hitting a jumper, and Rising Sun went to the final eight minutes holding a 45-43 lead.
That lead rose to four as the final quarter opened on a basket by Bovard; but a three-pointer by Breeck and a freethrow by Justin Chatham again tied the game at 47-47; and when Chatham made the second of his attempts, the Pacers were back in front by a point.
Rising Sun then got six straight points to go back up by five; but that led to another Pacer run. Breeck made a freethrow; Konkle and Breeck scored field goals, and with just over two minutes left, again the game was tied, 53-53.
Pflum then hit a big three-pointer to push the Shiners in front to stay; and Rising Sun closed the game with six straight freethrows to finish with a 62-55 win.
Breeck and South led Switzerland County with 15 points each; while Whitham had eight and Harrell added five. Rider and Chatham each contributed two points in the loss.
The Shiners were led by Turner with 15; Pflum with 14; Koons with 13; and Bovard with 12. McClellan had six points; and Trenton Gridley had two.
In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated Rising Sun by a score of 45-28.
Cade Rider led the Pacers with 13 points; while Coby Chase was also in double figures with 12. Zach Weaver and Landon Wilks each finished with five points; Doug Pedraza and Rio Paragallo each had three points; while Eli Martin and Patrick Stow contributed two points.
The Pacers now hit the road, traveling to Seymour to play Trinity Lutheran tomorrow (Friday) night; and the junior varsity will play in a tournament at South Central on Saturday.
Switzerland County will be playing in the revived Jefferson County Invitational Tournament on Friday and Saturday, December 22nd-23rd.
The year will close with a home game against Seymour on Saturday night, December 30th.