Pacers stage wild comeback to defeat Rising Sun in overtime thriller


Down by 15 points with just over five minutes to play; and still down by 14 a minute later; the Switzerland County Pacer varsity basketball team went on a wild and thrilling offensive outburst Friday night at Rising Sun, roaring back to tie the game and then win it in overtime.

The two teams had split games earlier this year; with the Pacers winning early in the regular season and the Shiners avenging that loss in the Rivertown Classic. Friday’s game also counted on the conference record, so both teams were ready to show that they were the best team the third time around.

The game was tight throughout, with the Shiners holding a 9-6 lead at the end of the first quarter; and then expanding that advantage to 24-15 at the half. By the end of the third period, Rising Sun was still leading 34-26, and it seemed that Coach Brian Bowen’s Pacers might not find their offensive footing in time to claim the win.

Rising Sun was riding hot offensive nights from senior forward Myles Hornsby and junior center Zeph Vaughn, and with 6:10 to play in the final stanza, Zeph Vaughn connected on two freethrows to make the score 44-29 in favor of the Shiners.

That score held up until the 5:40 mark, when Switzerland County’s Brennan Bragg made one of two freethrows to cut the gap to 14.

That was the start of the Pacers’ offensive run, as Switzerland County would score the next 11 points over a three minute span.

Brandon Otter followed the Brennan Bragg freethrow with a leaner in the lane; and Brennan Bragg then made another freethrow to get within 11. Mark Sharp and Kyle Green each followed with baskets; and after officials issued a technical foul on Rising Sun’s Aaron Hopkins, Kyle Green made one of the two penalties to make the score 44-38 with three minutes to play.

Brennan Bragg’s two freethrows cut the lead to four seconds later; but Myles Hornsby stopped the Shiner bleeding with a jumper that moved the lead back to six.

Mark Sharp then hit a huge three-pointer for Switzerland County with 2:13 left that brought Switzerland County fans to their feet; and when Kyle Green nailed a long three-pointer seconds later, Switzerland County had tied the game at 46-46 with 1:30 to play.

Mike Lovern got a clean look for the Shiners, but his jumper rimmed in and out; and Switzerland County began to kill the clock, looking for the last shot. Coach Bowen called a timeout with 16-seconds to play; but as the Pacers ran the final play, they lost possession of the ball and Rising Sun coach Brian Graham called a timeout with two seconds to play with hopes of a winning shot.

The ball went to Mike Lovern, who killed the Pacers in the Rivertown Classic, but his long attempt came up short, and the teams went to overtime.

The Pacers opened the extra period with Clay Meyer making two freethrows – significant because it was also the fifth foul on Shiner Myles Hornsby; but Zeph Vaughn tied the game moments later on a short jumper in the lane. After Rising Sun retained possession, Zeph Vaughn was fouled again, and again he made one of his two attempts, giving the Shiners a one point lead.

Kyle Green quickly killed that with a runner in the lane to push the Pacers back in front; but Rising Sun then got a big three-pointer from Mike Lovern and then two freethrows from Mike Lovern to move back in front, 54-50, with 2:29 to play. When Zeph Vaughn again connected on a freethrow at the two minute mark, Switzerland County found itself down by five – and again it was time to make a run.

Kyle Green, leading the ORVC in scoring, drilled a long three-pointer and was fouled on the shot, and when he completed the rare four-point play, the Pacers were suddenly back within one. After a defensive stop, Mark Sharp again cashed in with a jumper, and the teams went to the final minute of overtime with Switzerland County clinging to a 56-55 lead.

With nearly every fan in the Rising Sun gym on their feet, the roar of excitement drowned out all other sounds.

Rising Sun took a timeout after failing to capitalize on an offensive possession, and Switzerland County held the ball and milked the clock.

That strategy nearly backfired with Kyle Green, one of the leading freethrow shooters in the conference, missed both attempts of a two-shot foul with 32-seconds to play.

After another defensive stand, the Pacers again held the ball, and this time Kyle Green was true on both attempts, pushing the lead to 58-55 with three-seconds to play – and that’s how the game ended.

Kyle Green finished with 25 points to lead the Pacers, while Mark Sharp had 18 and Brennan Bragg had six. Clay Meyer had five points; and Brandon Otter and Daniel Welch each had two.

Zeph Vaughn led three Shiners in double figures with 19; while Myles Hornsby had 15 and Mike Lovern contributed 11.


The jayvee game was also an exciting one, with Rising Sun pulling out a 44-34 victory.

Travis Tackett led Switzerland County with 10 points; while Tray Meyer had seven and Noah Hughes finished with six.

Josh Hon had five points; Justin Reagan added four; and Kendall Otter contributed two points.

Rising Sun’s Alex Dennis led all scorers with 17 points.