Pacers open season with 51-48 overtime loss to Southwestern

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Having had their opening game delayed by illness, the Switzerland County boys varsity basketball team finally got to open its season on Saturday night with a home game with Southwestern.

It was a nip and tuck battle throughout the night, and with the teams tied at 47-47 at the end of regulation, it took an extra overtime period before the Rebels emerged with a 51-48 win.

The game was a close one throughout, as the first quarter ended with Southwestern holding a 10-9 lead. The Pacers had jumped out to a quick run fueled by junior Keegan Kincaid, who had the team’s first seven points, including a three-pointer. Southwestern battled back with a three-pointer by Caleb Jones, and when Hunter Means hit a runner in the lane at the 3:11 mark, the Rebels had an 8-7 lead.

Tyler Queen canceled that with a jumper moments later, but a basket by Southwestern’s Steve Adams closed the quarter with a one point spread.

The Pacers opened the second stanza and retook the lead on a pair of freethrows by Adam Clark; but Joel Smith drilled a three-pointer that put the Rebels back in front. Southwestern then expanded their lead to five on a three-pointer by Caleb Jones; but Keegan Kincaid’s second three-pointer of the game quickly narrowed the gap back down to two.

Caleb Jones then made another three-pointer and followed that with a jumper that gave Southwestern a 21-14 lead with 1:45 to play in the half; and coming out of a timeout Quinn Meyer connected on a jumper that brought the Pacers back to within five.

With less than a minute to play, again it was Keegan Kincaid, and the junior connected on a long three-pointer that brought the Pacer faithful to their feet and again cut the lead to two.

Hunter Means quickly quieted the crowd with a basket and a pair of freethrows, but senior Pacer Zach O’Neal made a bucket that closed the scoring and the first half, with Southwestern leading 25-21.

Quinn Meyer opened the second half scoring with a basket; and after Southwestern got a freethrow, Tyler Queen’s bucket sparked a 6-0 run that included two more baskets by Keegan Kincaid that pushed Switzerland County back in front by three, 29-26.

Caleb Jones responded for the Rebels, but Trevor Smith knifed through the lane to answer for the Pacers. Southwestern then got a bucket from Trace Taylor; and the quarter closed with a strong inside move by Pacer Alex Curran which extended the Switzerland County lead back to three, 33-30.

Southwestern tied the game with three quick points to open the final stanza, but Alex Curran converted a traditional three-point play that countered those points. The Rebels then scored inside, but Keegan Kincaid’s fourth three-pointer of the night with 4:33 to play gave the Pacers a 39-35 lead.

It didn’t last, as Southwestern roared back with a three-pointer by Trace Taylor and a freethrow by Joel Smith; and with just over two minutes to play in regulation, the teams were tied at 39-39.

Caleb Jones then converted a three-point play that pushed the Rebels back in front; but Adam Clark answered with a pair of freethrows that kept the Pacers within striking distance. Trace Taylor’s freethrows again extended the lead back to three; but that’s when sophomore Tyler Queen connected on a long three-pointer of his own to knot the game at 44-44.

Caleb Jones responded for Southwestern, connecting on a basket to again take the lead; but once again it was Tyler Queen, and this time his three-pointer with seven seconds to play gave Switzerland County a one-point lead. A foul with five seconds to play sent Rebel Joel Smith to the line, and when he only managed one freethrow, the game went into a four-minute overtime period tied at 47-47.

In overtime, Caleb Jones drew first blood with a pair of freethrows, and Anthony Dennis made a freethrow after being fouled in the act of shooting a three-pointer that closed the gap to one.

Southwestern’s poor freethrow shooting left the door open for Switzerland County, as the Rebels converted just 4-of-10 freethrows in the overtime period; but the Pacers couldn’t get the key basket they needed to regain offensive momentum, and the game ended with the Rebels sealing a three point win, 51-48.

Keegan Kincaid led the Pacers with 20 points on the night; while Tyler Queen was also in double figures with 10.

Alex Curran had five points; Adam Clark and Quinn Meyer had four each; Trevor Smith and Zach O’Neal each had two; and Anthony Dennis chipped in one.

Caleb Jones led all scorers with 23 points.

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In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated Southwestern 46-32.

Chase Ritch led the Pacers with 14 points; while Clint Swanson was also in double figures with 12. Hunter Jordan had eight points; Braden Burk finished with seven; Austin Clark had three; and Anthony Dennis finished with two.