Pacers put up strong battle, but fall to Highlanders, 54-43

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It was supposed to be the first game of the season; but illness moved last Wednesday night’s boys varsity game between Switzerland County and Floyd Central.

The game was supposed to be a blow out, with the Class 4A Highlanders coming off of an impressive season.

But it wasn’t.

The final score will show Floyd Central leaving Switzerland County with an 11-point win, 54-43, but those in attendance know that it was a much closer contest than the final score indicated.

Much closer.

In fact, the game was decided at the freethrow line, as Floyd Central was 17-for-22 at the charity stripe; while the homestanding Pacers were just 1-for-2 – outshot by 20 attempts and outscored by 16 points.

Even though Floyd Central rolled into Vevay as the “big school”, Coach B.J. McAlister’s Pacer squad didn’t back down, holding leads at the ends of the first and second quarters, and down by just one at the end of the third.

Keegan Kincaid got the Pacers rolling with a three-pointer to open play, and after Floyd Central reeled off seven straight points – all by Jordan Thompson – it looked like a game that would be over early.

That’s when the Pacers responded, getting a three-pointer by Tyler Queen and a basket by Quinn Meyer to take an 8-7 advantage; and after the Highlanders made a freethrow to tie the game, Keegan Kincaid hit his second three-pointer of the opening quarter.

A basket by Floyd Central’s Connor Schellenberg trimmed the Switzerland County lead to 11-10 after the first quarter.

Tyler Queen opened the second stanza with another three-pointer, and after Wade Niehoff matched that with a three-pointer for Floyd Central, Quinn Meyer hit a baseline jumper to keep the Pacers in front.

Floyd Central countered with a pair of freethrows and another three-pointer by Wade Niehoff to retake the lead; but Tyler Queen hit his third three-pointer of the opening half to push the Pacers back in front. Keegan Kincaid then hit a freethrow, and with three minutes to play until halftime, Switzerland County held a 20-18 lead.

The Highlanders responded, getting baskets from Quinton Miller and Jordan Thompson to claim a two-point advantage; but Keegan Kincaid’s long three-pointer pushed the Pacers back in front.

After two Highlander freethrows gave Floyd Central a one-point lead; a basket by Switzerland County’s Quinn Meyer gave the Pacers a 25-24 lead at the halftime break.

The third quarter continued to be a nip-and-tuck affair, with the Highlanders drawing first blood with a basket; only to be countered by Adam Clark inside for the Pacers. Floyd Central’s Wade Niehoff hit his third three-pointer of the game; but a basket by Keegan Kincaid moments later knotted the score at 29-29 with four minutes to play.

Floyd Central’s Barrett Crone converted a traditional three-point play to again give the Highlanders the lead; but the Pacers got baskets from Trevor Smith and Keegan Kincaid to go up 33-32.

A pair of freethrows by the Highlanders Chris Peters gave Floyd Central a 34-33 lead with a period to play.

Chris Peters scored a jumper to extend the lead to three as the final quarter got underway; but Trevor Smith raced through the lane for a runner that found the range moments later, and the game remained razor-close.

Floyd Central got a basket from Barrett Crone and a pair of freethrows by Quinton Miller to stake itself to a five-point advantage; but Trevor Smith again found the range to slice the lead down to three.

The Highlanders then attempted to flex their big school muscle, getting a basket and a three-point play from Jordan Thompson, and with 2:35 to play in the contest, Floyd Central held a 45-37 lead.

Back came the Pacers, getting two straight three-pointers from Keegan Kincaid – the second one from really long distance – and with just over a minute to play, the lead was back down to one.

That’s when the Highlanders hit a critical offensive juncture, getting a three-point play from Quinton Miller and that was followed by a steal and a layup by Connor Schellenberg that swelled the lead back to seven, 50-43, with 43-seconds to go.

With the Pacer defense applying high-octane pressure, Switzerland County forced a tie-up, but the possession arrow was in favor of Floyd Central.

The Highlanders got four freethrows to close the game, and the contest ended with Floyd Central in front, 54-43.

Keegan Kincaid led the Pacers with 20 points; while Tyler Queen finished with nine on three three-pointers. Quinn Meyer and Trevor Smith each finished with six; and Adam Clark had two.

Jordan Thompson led Floyd Central with 17 points; and Wade Niehoff was in double figures with 11.

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The jayvee Pacer team defeated Floyd Central by a score of 41-36.

Chase Ritch led Switzerland County with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, and four steals; and Clint Swanson was also in double figures with 11, and had seven rebounds.

Braden Burk had nine points; Austin Clark had seven; and Hunter Jordan finished with two points.