The Switzerland County Pacer varsity boys basketball team will enter tomorrow (Friday) night’s Sectional matchup on a high note after closing its regular season last Friday night with a 53-44 over Madison.
The win was the Pacers’ eighth straight, and Switzerland County has won 10 of the 12 games it has played in 2013. The team’s overall record heading into tournament play is 16-4.
No matter what the records may be, the Switzerland County-Madison game is always a big one, and with the Cubs (10-10) getting ready for a tough Sectional with the likes of Greensburg and Batesville, there was added incentive for both teams to cap their years with a win.
The first quarter got off to a quiet start, with Madison pulling ahead by a 14-11 count after eight minutes of play.
Austin Clark had six points in the opening stanza for Switzerland County; with Chase Ritch converting a three-pointer and Braden Burk accounting for a basket.
Switzerland County made up a little bit of ground in the second quarter, but it was a sluggish one for both teams, with the Pacers managing only eight points in the period – but Madison could amasse only six.
The second quarter showed some balanced scoring for the Pacers, as Austin Clark hit a three-pointer, Chase Ritch and Alex Curran each had baskets, and Clint Swanson made a freethrow.
The Cubs got second quarter baskets from Ryan Thurston, Carson Wattenbarger, and Tanner Sauley, and although it wasn’t much, it was still enough to keep the Cubs in front at the halftime break by a 20-19 count.
It was the third quarter that was the turning point of the contest, as Switzerland County outscored their hosts by a 14-7 margin.
Again, balance was the key, as Austin Clark’s six points led the Pacers, but Switzerland County also got buckets from Trevor Smith, Clint Swanson, and Alex Curran, while Braden Burk made a pair of freethrows.
Landon Perry had five of Madison’s seven points in the quarter; and with eight minutes left to play, Switzerland County found itself in front, 33-27.
Both offenses got going in the final stanza, with the Pacers winning the period by a 20-17 count.
Freethrow shooting was key for Switzerland County in the quarter, as the team was 12-for-16 from the charity stripe - including Trevor Smith going a perfect 6-for-6 – and that quieted a rather raunchous Madison student section and sent the Cubs into Sectional play with a loss.
Austin Clark continued his outstanding play, accounting for six points in the critical portions of the game; and Clint Swanson made two big freethrows in crunch time.
Chase Ritch had four points in the final quarter; and Braden Burk also had a basket.
Ryan Thurston had a big fourth quarter for Madison, accounting for 10 points; but it wasn’t enough and Switzerland County emerged with a 53-44 win.
Austin Clark finished with a game-high 21 points to lead Switzerland County; while Chase Ritch finished with nine and Trevor Smith had eight.
Braden Burk added six points to the victory total; Clint Swanson had five; and Alex Curran contributed four points – including a dunk that brought the Pacer faithful to their feet.
Overall, Switzerland County had 15 two-point field goals; two three-point field goals; and were 17-for-23 from the freethrow line.
Madison was led by Ryan Thurston’s 16 points; with Landon Perry adding eight points and Nick Macon and Carson Wattenbarger each had six.
The Cubs converted 14 two-point field goals; had four three-pointers; and were just four-for-seven from the freethrow line.
Switzerland County now preps for Sectional play, and the Pacers will take on Austin tomorrow (Friday) night in the second game of the South Ripley Sectional. The game is expected to start at approximately 7:30 p.m.; and will follow the South Ripley-North Decatur game.
Austin advanced on Tuesday night with a 69-55 win over Milan; while North Decatur earned a trip to the semifinals with a 68-58 victory over Southwestern.
The two winners in the semifinal games will meet for the Sectional championship on Saturday night.
Coach Mark Boggs’ junior varsity squad wrapped up its season on Friday night with a 66-36 loss at the hands of Madison.
Riley Phagan had 11 points to lead Switzerland County in the game; while Justus Powell had seven points and six rebounds. Ben Curran also had seven points in the game, and contributed a pair of rebounds.
Nathan Hunter finished with six points, six rebounds, and four blocked shots; Riley Pegg had three points; and Tristen Bolton had two points and three rebounds.
Although the year ended with a loss, it doesn’t overshadow an outstanding season for the Pacers, as they finished with an overall record of 14-6, and were 5-1 in conference play.
The conference record earned Switzerland County a share of the ORVC junior varsity title along with Jac-Cen-Del, as both teams finished 5-1 in conference play.