An old rivalry was renewed last Thursday night when the Gallatin County Wildcats ventured across the Markland Dam Bridge to take on the Switzerland County Pacers.
The game is a renewal of a rivalry that had gone on for years but ceased in the 1990s when both schools needed the slot for conference games. With some schools rotating off of the Switzerland County schedule, it became possible again to schedule the Wildcats.
Even after such a long layoff, the home team wasn’t very hospitable to its guests, as Switzerland County used a big final quarter to pull away and claim the 51-44 victory.
Switzerland County got off to a fast start, racing out to a 14-7 lead after the first quarter on the strength of a pair of three-pointers by Chase Ritch and four points from Clint Swanson. Trevor Smith and Alex Curran both had buckets in the opening stanza – and the Pacers were off and running.
The game marked the return of Alex Curran, as the senior has been hampered by knee issues and a case of mononucleosis, but is now healthy in time for the stretch run heading into tournament play.
Gallatin County climbed back a bit in the second quarter, outscoring Switzerland County by a 12-9 margin, but it was not enough to pull in front, and at the half the Pacers led by a 23-19 score.
In that second period, the Pacers got five points from Austin Clark, including a three-pointer. Chase Ritch had another three-pointer – his third of the game – and Ben Curran had a freethrow.
The third quarter was again a closely-contested affair, as Gallatin County again won the period by a 12-10 count, but the Pacers still managed to maintain their lead, 33-32.
Clint Swanson led Switzerland County in the quarter with four points; while both Austin Clark and Alex Curran each added three points on traditional three-point plays.
It was the fourth quarter where the Switzerland County offense finally got humming.
The Pacers tallied 18 points in the final quarter alone, while Gallatin County could only manage 13.
Austin Clark had five points in the quarter including his second three-pointer of the game; while T.J. White also worked hard inside to account for five points. Chase Ritch added four points on a jumper and a pair of freethrows; Clint Swanson had another basket; and both Trevor Smith and Alex Curran added a freethrow to the total.
Final score: Switzerland County 51, Gallatin County 44.
It was again a balanced scoring effort for Coach B.J. McAlister’s Pacers, seven different players scoring. Austin Clark and Chase Ritch led the Switzerland County attack with 13 points each; and Clint Swanson was also in double figures, as he finished with 10.
Alex Curran had six points in his return; while T.J. White added five points; Trevor Smith had three; and Ben Curran contributed a point.
The Wildcats were led by Austin Chapman and Kristian Morgan, who each had 11 points.
In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated Gallatin County by a score of 49-42.
Nathan Hunter had an outstanding game, finishing with 19 points, five rebounds and two steals.
Justus Powell was also in double figures, as he had 11 points in the contest to go with two rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Riley Phagan had nine points, two rebounds, three assists and three steals; while Ben Curran added four points and three rebounds to the effort.
Zach Whitaker had two points and three steals in the game; Tristen Bolton had two points and four rebounds; and Caleb Furnish chipped in two points.