Pacers win close conference battle over Milan, 42-38

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Switzerland County had some key offensive runs at critical times and played strong defense throughout the game in earning a big conference win over Milan on Saturday night by a score of 53-48.

All four quarters saw both teams fight to break away; but those defenses stayed tough, keeping the score close.

In the first quarter, Milan broke out early on a three-pointer by Zac Minnich and a bucket by Orrin Schmidt; and after Kyle Whitham opened the scoring for the Pacers, the Indians got a three-pointer by Austin King to take a quick six-point advantage.

Damian Breeck stopped any possible run with a jumper; but Schmidt came right back with another basket. The Pacers then got five straight points from Whitham on a three-pointer and a runner in the lane; but again Milan held true, getting a freethrow from King and a basket by Jed Minnich to pull out to a four-point advantage.

Breeck closed the period on a basket off of an outstanding assist from Tyler Konkle, and the teams went to their benches after eight minutes with Milan in front, 13-11.

Milan’s Jacob Burton scored to open the second and make the Indian lead four points; but that’s when the Switzerland County offense kicked in.

The Pacers ran off eight straight points on a bucket by Konkle, a basket and a pair of freethrows by South, and another basket by Whitham, and with 4:50 to play until the half, Switzerland County was in front, 19-15.

Schmidt scored to stop that run; but the Pacers responded with South and Breeck each hitting two freethrows; and when Damon Ward hit a three-pointer for the Indians, the halftime break came with Switzerland County out in front, 23-20.

The close battle continued in the second half, as Schmidt opened the scoring with a freethrow; but the Pacers got a freethrow from South and a three-pointer by Breeck to make the lead six. Zac Minnich then scored; but it was then time for another mini Pacer run, as Switzerland County got a basket from South, two freethrows by Whitham, and a three-pointer by Breeck to make the score 34-23 in favor of the Pacers with 2:41 to go in the quarter.

Milan countered, getting a basket from Joel Norman and a three-pointer from King to get back within six; but back came the Pacers with an inside bucket by Konkle and two freethrows from Whitham to again push the lead to double-digits, 38-28.

Jed Minnich then scored to close the period, and the teams headed to the final period with the final result still up in the air.

Switzerland County started the final eight minutes hot, getting a basket by Breeck and a key three-pointer by Chatham to make the lead 13 points; but Milan got two freethrows from Blake Beck and a basket by Schmidt to again get within nine.

A basket by Konkle was matched by a bucket from King; and Switzerland County then got a freethrow each from Breeck and Konkle and followed that with a strong basket by South, and again the lead was back to 13 points with two minutes to go.

Milan got two straight key three-pointers from Zac Minnich to keep its hopes alive, narrowing the deficit to seven; but Switzerland County got a freethrow from Breek and Whitham to keep the lead safe with under a minute to go in the game. Zac Minnich then scored again; but South connected on two critical freethrows to put the game out of reach. A desperation three-pointer by King at the horn found the range, and the game ended with the Pacers in front, 53-48.

Breeck again led the way, this time scoring 16 points; while Whitham finished with 14 points and South contributed 13 points. Konkle added seven points; and Chatham had three.

The Indians were led by Zac Minnich with 14 points; and King was in double figures with 12.

The Pacers now host Scottsburg in a Thursday night contest tonight; and then Coach Adam Dennis’s squad hits the road for five straight games: Tuesday, February 6th at Lawrenceburg; Friday, February 9th at Shawe Memorial (varsity only); Saturday, February 10th at Franklin County; Friday, February 16th at Jac-Cen-Del; and Saturday, February 17th at South Dearborn.

The regular season will then conclude at home against Madison on Thursday, February 22nd.

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In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated Milan by a score of 42-38.

Zach Weaver and Coby Chase shared leading scorer honors for the Pacers with 16 points each; while Landon Wilks had six points; and Doug Pedraza and Patrick Stow had two points each.