Pacers pull out 61-58 win over Rebels

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The Switzerland County Pacers bounced back from a disappointing season-opening loss to Madison Shawe with a 61-58 win over Southwestern on Saturday night.

“I thought as a whole we were better,” Pacer coach Brian Bowen said comparing Saturday night’s win to the Tuesday loss to Shawe. “We talked to our guys, and one of our luxuries is that we have eight seniors, and we have some guys who are on their last go and they’ve been through it before.”

Coach Bowen said that in the Shawe game their were players that Switzerland County needs to step up in certain situations and provide leadership and experience – and against Shawe they didn’t.

“What was really pleasing to us in the Southwestern game is that the guys who didn’t step up in the Shawe game did step up against Southwestern and made big plays for us.”

Saturday night, Switzerland County was in a dogfight from the outset, trailing Southwestern 15-12 after the first quarter while dealing with foul trouble to inside players Brennan Bragg and Travis Tackett.

Coach Bowen countered that by going to a smaller, faster lineup, utilizing five guards at times while senior Tray Meyer was given the task of stopping Rebel inside power player Tanner Mahoney.

“Tray did a really good job defensively on the Mahoney kid,” the coach said. “We thought before the game that our goal was to keep him under 14 (points), and he ended up with 12, and none of those were in the fourth quarter and he only had four in the second half. I thought Tray did a really good job, and not just him, but our help-side defense was good. We can’t guard some people one on one, it’s got to be one on five.”

But it was the outside play and the senior leadership that brought the Pacers through, as guard Noah Hughes finished with a career high 13 points including a three-pointer.

“I thought Noah did a good job of being aggressive,” Coach Bowen said. “We talked to him because I thought in the Shawe game he was more of just a passer. That doesn’t mean that he has to be a shooter, but he has to be aggressive and get other guys shots and be able to create for us at times. When he has his shot, he needs to have the confidence to take it, and against Southwestern he did that.”

Switzerland County bounced back with a big second quarter, outscoring Southwestern 20-18 in the stanza to trail by one, 33-32 at the half. The third quarter saw the Pacers take the lead with a 14-8 period; and Southwestern outscored Switzerland County 17-15 in the final stanza, but it was too little, too late as the Pacers escaped with the win.

For Brian Bowen, it was a great team effort.

“We were really balanced,” the coach said. “Hon comes off the bench and gets six; and McAlpine comes off the bench and gives us eight and good play and good minutes. Ross gave us some valuable minutes. A lot of different guys did a lot of different things that were good for us.”

Another big factor in the win was the Switzerland County freethrow shooting. After going a mediocre 4-for-9 against Madison Shawe, the Pacers bounced back to shoot 17-for-19 on Saturday night, outscoring Southwestern by six points from the charity stripe.

“We try and work on those and concentrate on them,” Coach Bowen said. “Maybe we just got the right guys at the line at the right time. When you go 17-for-19, you’ve done a pretty good job.”

Switzerland County was led by Brennan Bragg with 15 points; while Noah Hughes had 13 points and both Tray Meyer and Alec McAlpine finished with eight. Josh Hon added six; and Travis Tackett – back from a concussion that kept him out of the Shawe game – and Tanner Ross both added four. Keegan Kincaid finished with three.

The Pacers now travel to Trinity Lutheran in Seymour tomorrow (Friday) night before finally getting to come home, playing Jennings County on Saturday night, which is a 6:30 p.m. start.

Trinity Lutheran was in a tight battle with Madison Shawe on Saturday night before falling by two, so the Pacer coaching staff is taking nothing for granted.

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The junior varsity team lost a close game to Southwestern on Saturday night by a score of 36-35.

Adam Clark led the way with 14 points and seven rebounds; and Blake Whitham finished with eight points and three steals. Anthony Dennis had five points; Damon Robbins had four points; and Quinn Meyer had three points, three rebounds, and three assists; and Anthony Dasis added one point.