Pacers win JCIT opener with physical 56-54 win over Madison

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The Jefferson County Invitational Tournament was resurrected this year after a 21 year slumber; and on Thursday, December 22nd, the tourney’s first round game between Switzerland County and Madison continued where it left off in 1995 – with a hard-fought, physical battle.

On Thursday, the Pacers weathered the storm and made critical baskets and crucial times to advance to the JCIT championship game with a 56-54 win over the Cubs.

But it was truly a battle for the entire 32 minutes.

“The key was keeping them off of the three-point line,” Pacer coach Adam Dennis said. “Our guys did a good job of that, and our defense overall played very well. We got some good play from several of our players. Overall I was pretty pleased with our effort.”

Switzerland County got off to a solid start in the first quarter, earning a 14-8 lead after one period.

Balance was a big key early for Coach Adam Dennis’ troops, with Kollin Hayes making a three-pointer and a freethrow; Dakota Fuller and Kyle Whitham each making early three-pointers; and Casper Stow and Austin South each had baskets to make the Cub defense where points were coming from next.

Cooper Yancey led the Cubs in the first quarter with four points; while Daniel Anderson and Carson Howser each had baskets.

Up by six, Switzerland County continued to fight during the second quarter, as the offense scored at key times and the defense held tough against Madison offensive runs.

The Cubs won the quarter by a 14-11 count; but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Pacers for the halftime lead, as Switzerland County led by three, 25-22.

Kollin Hayes continued his strong play with four points; South added a three-pointer to his total; and the Pacers got some offense on the inside, with both Hunter Hayes and Justin Green recording buckets.

The Cubs got four points each from Yancey and Chase Wattenberger; while Mason Welch added a three-pointer Howser had a basket; and Anderson chipped in a freethrow.

The third quarter saw another balanced period by both schools, with Switzerland County scoring 12 points while Madison managed 11.

Stow had a breakout stanza for the Pacers, as the senior had two three-pointers and a basket for eight points; while Kollin Hayes had the other four points.

Madison was led in the third by Yancey with five points; while Anderson, Wattenberger, and Brayden Perry each had a basket.

With a quarter to play, Switzerland County held a 37-33 lead.

And things were about to get wild.

Madison would make a run and take the lead in the quarter on the strength of 21 points – 15 of those points coming at the freethrow line; as the Cubs attempted 20 charities in the final eight minutes.

Switzerland County countered that with continued steady, balanced play, with Green recording six points in the quarter; South had five more on the strength of a basket and a three-pointer; and Whitham had another three-pointer and added a freethrow for four points.

Kollin Hayes had a basket; and Hunter Hayes contributed two freethrows, pushing Switzerland County’s fourth-quarter point total to 19 – and resulting in a Pacer victory.

The referees where at the center of Switzerland County wrath throughout the contest, and that boiled over as the game wound down, as both Fuller and Hunter Hayes were issued technicals for different offenses, both of the seniors fouling out in the contest.

Yancy had eight points in the fourth for the Cubs; while Perry had six points – all from the freethrow line; and Anderson had four.

Final score: Switzerland County 56, Madison 54.

The balance was the key for the Pacers, as Kollin Hayes led the way with 14 points; and Stow and South were also both in double figures with 10 each.

Green was right behind with eight points; while Whitham had seven; Hunter Hayes had four; and Fuller finished with three.

Yancey led Madison with 21 points; with Anderson finishing with nine and Perry with eight.

The win was the fourth in a row for Switzerland County, and pushed them into the JCIT championship game against Southwestern.