Pacers hang on for last second thrilling victory over Southwestern

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After racing out to a big early lead, the Switzerland County Pacer varsity basketball team withstood a frantic last quarter run by Southwestern on Friday night to earn a 59-55 conference win.

The Pacers came out with some offensive firepower, scoring the first eight points of the contest on baskets by Trevor Smith and Keegan Kincaid and a pair of buckets by Adam Clark.

Jordan Perry hit a freethrow for the Rebels midway through the period to stop the run; but the Pacers came right back with two straight baskets by Alex Curran. Jordan Perry scored inside, but again Alex Curran got free inside for a basket that made the score 15-3

Southwestern finished off the quarter with two straight baskets by Hunter Means, but after one period of play the Pacers were holding a commanding 15-8 lead.

Trevor Smith added to the lead with a runner to open the second period; and after Jordan Yarbrough hit a pair of freethrows for Southwestern, Switzerland County got baskets from Tyler Queen and Adam Clark and a freethrow from Alex Curran to swell the lead to 23-10.

The final three minutes of the second stanza saw the two teams trade scoring opportunities, with the Pacers getting two baskets from Keegan Kincaid, a three-pointer and a pair of freethrows from Anthony Dennis; and a basket by Tyler Queen to head to the lockerroom with a 37-22 lead.

Game over? Not quite.

The third quarter started with the Pacers extending their lead on a basket by Trevor Smith and a freethrow and a bucket by Adam Clark that pushed the lead to 20. After Jordan Yarbrough made a pair of charities, Quinn Meyer’s basket seemed to stop the Rebel momentum.

But that didn’t happen, as Southwestern went on a run of eight straight points to get within striking distance, but Keegan Kincaid drilled a long three-pointer at the buzzer to give Switzerland County a 47-32 lead heading into the final period.

With a 15-point lead in hand, it appeared that the Pacers could cruise home with their first conference victory, but the Rebels had other plans.

Southwestern employed a sticky full court pressure defense that lead to untimely Switzerland County turnovers and allowed the Rebels to get back into the game.

After Anthony Dennis opened the final quarter with a pair of freethrows, Southwestern reeled off seven straight points to get within 10.

Quinn Meyer’s three-pointer temporarily stopped the run; but the Rebels responded with a basket and a pair of freethrows, and with four minutes remaining, the Switzerland County lead had been chopped to nine. Keegan Kincaid scored to push the lead back into double figures, but Switzerland County then saw its freethrow shooting fail, which came at a critical juncture of the contest.

Anthony Dennis missed the front end of a one-an-bonus that Hunter Means turned into a three-point play that trimmed the lead to seven. When Trace Taylor converted a three-point play moments later, the lead was suddenly four and the Southwestern fans got back into the game.

Trevor Smith managed one of two freethrows; and Jordan Perry scored to make the score 55-52 with two minutes left.

Tyler Queen missed a pair of freethrows; and when Hunter Means converted another three-point play, suddenly the teams were tied at 55-55.

Tyler Queen redeemed himself moments later, hitting a critical jumper that gave the Pacers the lead again; and with just seconds remaining, Southwestern has possession with a chance to steal the win.

Sharpshooter Hunter Means got free on the right side from three-point range for a catch and shoot, but his attempt bounced free, securing the Pacer win.

Quinn Meyer was fouled on the rebound, and his two freethrows with four-tenths of a second left made the final score 59-55 in favor of Switzerland County.

“We played really well for three quarters and didn’t play well at all for one,” Pacer coach B.J. McAlister said after the game. “We lost our composure in some spots and didn’t take care of the basketball like we should. I give Southwestern credit, they fought hard and never quit. We need to do a better job of finishing.”

Keegan Kincaid led the Pacers with 14 points; while Tyler Queen finished with 11. Adam Clark had nine points and 17 rebounds; Trevor Smith, Quinn Meyer and Alex Curran each had seven; and Anthony Dennis finished with four.

Hunter Means led Southwestern with 19 points.

Freethrows were huge in the game, as the Pacers were 9-of-17; while Southwestern was 15-for-18.

The Pacers, riding a two game winning streak, look to grab another conference win this Saturday night in a Homecoming clash with Rising Sun. The jayvee game gets underway at 6 p.m.

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In junior varsity action, Switzerland County lost to Southwestern by a score of 49-46.

Clint Swanson had an outstanding game for the Pacers, finishing with 19 points and six rebounds; while Braden Burk was also in double figures, finishing with 13 points to go with three assists.

Chase Ritch made it three in double figures with 10 points; while Alex Curran and Austin Clark each contributed two points.