Pacers hit the road and return with big win over Jennings County

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Perfect at home through the opening portion of the season, coach Brian Bowen’s Switzerland County Pacer varsity basketball team hit the road for the first time last Saturday night – and returned with a big win over a familiar face.

The Pacers rode a big first half to a 68-52, victory over Jennings County, which is now coached by Scott Holdsworth, former Pacer mentor who last coached at South Ripley.

“I thought in the first half we played pretty well,” Coach Bowen said. “I thought our guys did a good job of being unselfish. We made the extra pass and found the open guy.”

Switzerland County raced out to a 21-14 first quarter lead on the strength of junior center Brennan Bragg, who accounted for seven points in the opening stanza. Noah Hughes and Travis Tackett also hit three-pointers in the first quarter of play; and Kyle Green, Mark Sharp, Clay Meyer, and Kameron Pavy all had two points apiece.

Everyone played in the first quarter scored in the opening frame, and it’s that type of balance that makes the Pacer head coach smile.

“I think we’ve got a lot of guys who are contributing in different ways,” Brian Bowen said. “We’ve been averaging about 18 assists on 25 field goals makes in a game. I think that really displays how much these guys are looking for each other and finding each other and moving the basketball.”

If the first quarter set the tone, then the second period determined the outcome, as the Pacer reeled off 22 points over the eight-minute span while Jennings County managed only nine.

That gave Switzerland County a commanding 43-23 lead at the halftime break.

The second quarter again saw offensive balance, as Kyle Green led the way with seven points. Alec McAlpine came off of the bench to convert two big three-pointers in the period; and Travis Tackett also had another trey.

Noah Hughes, Brennan Bragg, and Kameron Pavy each had a bucket in the quarter.

As pleased as he is with his starting tandem, Coach Bowen quickly points out that the power of this team is in its depth, and everyone is contributing.

“Noah (Hughes) has done a great job off of the bench for us and really helped us,” Coach Bowen said. “Kameron (Pavy) has too, and so has Alec (McAlpine). When those guys come in, we haven’t had any let downs. We keep going like nothing’s changed, and that’s very important.”

The coach also had praise for a senior doing the tough work inside.

“Clay Meyer has done an outstanding job of rebounding the basketball for us,” his coach said. “He’s also been excellent on the defensive end. It’s another example of people doing what they need to do for the entire team to be successful.”

Up by 20 after just one half of play, the Pacers saw their offensive output drop off a bit in the third quarter, winning the period battle by just a 15-13 count, but it was still enough to increase the lead.

Brennan Bragg again contributed inside in a major way, accounting for another seven points in the period. Mark Sharp had four in the quarter; Kyle Green had a basket; and Clay Meyer and Travis Tackett each converted a freethrow.

With the game in hand, all of the substitutes got into the game in the final quarter, but that didn’t mean that their coach had lowered his expectations.

Travis Tackett made another three-pointer in the final quarter; while Noah Hughes, Mark Sharp, and Kameron Pavy each had buckets and Kyle Green made a freethrow. Josh Hon, Tanner Ross, and Tray Meyer also saw action in the final quarter.

“In the fourth quarter, it was tough to continue to maintain the right mindset, but we continue to work on keeping our mental approach strong,” Coach Bowen said.

For the game, Brennan Bragg led the Pacers with 16 points; and Kyle Green and Travis Tackett were both also in double figures, finishing with 12 and 10.

Mark Sharp added eight points; Noah Hughes had seven; and Alec McAlpine and Kameron Pavy had six each. Clay Meyer finished with three.

The Pacers return to action tomorrow (Friday) night at Rising Sun, where the “Ruler of the River” trophy will again be up for grabs.

“It’s a conference opponent and a friendly rivalry,” Brian Bowen said. “Regardless of records, Rising Sun is always a team that’s a tough game.”

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The junior varsity team fell to a very physical Jennings County team on Saturday night by a final score of 45-43.

Tray Meyer led Switzerland County with 11 points, converting 7-of-9 freethrows; while Blake Whitham was also in double figures, finishing with 10 points and four rebounds.

Danny Schira added six points, three blocks, and two rebounds; Adam Clark had five points (going 5-for-6 from the freethrow line) and had seven rebounds; and Josh Hon had four points and two steals.

Tanner Ross had three points and six rebounds; Alec McAlpine had two points; and Kendall Otter had two points and six rebounds.