Pacers suffer slow start, turn up power to beat Hilltoppers


It was ugly early.

Very ugly.

But, in the end the Switzerland County Pacer boys varsity basketball team captured an ORVC win over Madison Shawe on Saturday night by a score of 49-41.

The Pacers played without starting forward Quinn Meyer, who sat out with a concussion; and others were battling illness- but Coach B.J. McAlister has relied on a deep bench all season long, so the depth played big dividends on Saturday night.

When the game started, it seemed as though both baskets had lids on them, as both squads struggled to find any sense of a shooting touch.

Alex Curran opened the game with an inside basket; and Austin Clark followed that with a freethrow to give the Pacers an early 3-0 lead.

The Hilltoppers then got a pair of freethrows from Jesse Ball to draw to within a point…

And that was it.

At the end of the first quarter, Switzerland County led by a 3-2 score.

The offensive production picked up a bit in the second quarter, but it was still a far cry from a level the Pacer coaching staff would want.

Anthony Dennis scored on a jumper, and that was followed by a basket by Shawe’s Jordan Chandler. Trevor Smith then scored twice for Switzerland County; and Austin Clark converted another freethrow. Jordan Chandler then made a freethrow for the Hilltoppers; and followed that moments later with a baseline leaner that closed the gap to three, 10-7.

Switzerland County then closed the first half with baskets by Alex Curran and Braden Burk, and after 16 minutes of uninspired play from both squads, the Pacers went to the halftime break holding a 14-7 lead.

Both teams began to get some offensive feel as the second half opened, with Shawe’s Jordan Chandler scoring to open the period. That was followed by a three-pointer from Anthony Dennis and a basket by Austin Clark, and the Pacers had opened up a 10-point advantage.

David Grote scored for Madison Shawe; but again Austin Clark went to work inside, powering his way to two more points. David Grote then converted a three-point play for the Hilltoppers, but Alex Curran grabbed a rebound, and the put back moved the Switzerland County lead back to nine.

Shawe went to work again, getting baskets from Jordan Chandler and Luke Higgins to make the deficit five; but a three-pointer by Keegan Kincaid gave the Pacers a 26-18 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Pacers began to flex their inside power as the final stanza opened, getting a tip in basket from Austin Clark and another inside move from Austin Clark to swell the lead to 12; and after Shawe’s Kyle Daugherty converted a three-point play; Switzerland County got a pair of freethrows from Trevor Smith and a three-pointer by Chase Ritch to make the score 35-21 with 5:35 to play.

Back came the Hilltoppers, getting a three-pointer from David Grote and baskets from Jordan Chandler and Luke Higgins to cut the lead down to seven; and after Austin Clark scored inside again, Luke Higgins made two freethrows to keep the game close.

That’s when Keegan Kincaid drilled a long three-pointer that gave the Pacers some cushion; but again Shawe fought back, getting baskets from Jordan Chandler and Luke Higgins to narrow the gap to six.

Keegan Kincaid made a pair of freethrows to stop that run; and after David Grote scored again, Switzerland County went to its inside power game, and Austin Clark did not disappoint.

The Hilltoppers then got three freethrows to again take the lead down to five; but Alex Curran followed that with a huge three-point play. Joey Mingione then made a pair of freethrows for Madison Shawe; but Keegan Kincaid matched those – even though several minutes elapsed between the first and second attempts when the scoreboards went out – with 32-seconds to play; and that wrapped up the scoring for an unusual Saturday night, with Switzerland County winning by a 49-41 margin.

Again it was balanced, steady offense that fueled the Pacer win. Austin Clark led Switzerland County with 14 points; while Keegan Kincaid was in double figures with 10. Alex Curran had nine points; Trevor Smith had six; Anthony Dennis finished with five; Chase Ritch had three; and Braden Burk added two points.

The Pacer made 14 field goals; four three-pointers; and were 9-for-15 from the freethrow line.

Madison Shawe was led by Jordan Chandler with 14 points; and David Grote finished with 10. The Hilltoppers made 13 field goals; had one three-pointer; and were 12-for-20 from the charity stripe.

Switzerland County is now 10-7 on the year; and returns to action tonight (Thursday) for a game at Lawrenceburg. Then it’s a rare Saturday afternoon clash this Saturday when South Ripley visits. The jayvee game will begin at 1 p.m. with the varsity expected to start at 2:30 p.m.


In Saturday night’s junior varsity action, Switzerland County defeated Madison Shawe by a score of 45-19.

Riley Phagan led the Pacers with 13 points on the night; while Nathan Hunter added nine points. T.J. White and Braden Burk had seven points each; Justus Powell added four points; Dakota Taylor and Douglas Ray had two points each; and Bob Tressler chipped in a point.