Poor freethrow shooting critical as Pacers lose OT heartbreaker

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After winning Friday night’s game at the freethrow line, the Switzerland County Pacer boys varsity basketball team arguably lost Saturday night’s conference showdown with Madison Shawe at the charity stripe.

Which wasn’t very charitable.

After going 22-for-28 on Friday night; Switzerland County was just 2-for-11 on Saturday night, and those critical missed freethrows were the difference in a 54-49 overtime loss to Madison Shawe. Had the Pacers won the game, they would have been guaranteed at least a share of the conference title. The loss now makes next Friday’s home game with Jac-Cen-Del a must win if the Pacers want to keep any hopes of a conference title alive.

Historically, games with Madison Shawe are hard fought, up and down the floor battles, and Saturday night’s was no exception.

Switzerland County opened the game pounding the ball inside, and Quinn Meyer and Adam Clark both responded with buckets to give the Pacers an early lead.

After the Hilltoppers got on the board with a basket; a three-pointer from Keegan Kincaid and another inside bucket from Adam Clark pushed the Switzerland County lead to 9-2.

Madison Shawe got a three-pointer from Nico Mingione and a pair of freethrows from Michael Kring to quickly chop the lead back to two; but a three-pointer by Tyler Queen gave the Pacers a 12-7 lead after one quarter.

Shawe went right to work in the second quarter, getting a basket from Nico Mingione and a another from Taylor Rhoten to draw to within one; but the Pacers responded with a run of six straight points on a three-pointer by Keegan Kincaid; a freethrow from Adam Clark, and a basket by Quinn Meyer to push back out to a seven-point margin.

The Hilltoppers responded with a bucket by Matt Armstrong and a pair of freethrows by Michael Kring; but again the Pacers went inside to Adam Clark, and the senior responded with a basket to increase the lead to five.

Both teams missed freethrow opportunities late in the quarter, and at halftime Switzerland County held a 20-15 edge.

Quinn Meyer opened the second half with a freethrow; and after Michael Kring scored for Shawe, once again Adam Clark made his presence felt inside with a key bucket. Nico Mingione countered that, and again the Pacers poured the ball inside – this time to Quinn Meyer. A Keegan Kincaid basket moments later extended the Switzerland County lead back to eight, 27-19.

The Hilltoppers countered with two straight baskets; but Tyler Queen stopped that run with a three-pointer. Shawe closed the quarter strongly, however, scoring the final five points to close the gap to just two, 30-28, with a period to play.

Switzerland County rallied as the final quarter started, getting a defensive stop before Keegan Kincaid drilled another three-pointer. Shawe’s David Grote scored, but Quinn Meyer countered that; and when Trevor Smith scored twice, with 5:02 to play the Pacers had pulled away to a nine-point lead, 39-30.

Shawe responded, getting a basket from Jacob Sanders and a three-pointer from Michael Kring to pull back into the contest; and after Quinn Meyer scored again for Switzerland County, Shawe got baskets from Jacob Sanders and Michael Kring to shrink the lead down to two with under two minutes to play.

It appeared that the Pacers would survive the threat, as Adam Clark’s inside bucket was followed by another three-pointer by Keegan Kincaid, and with 48-seconds to play, the Pacers held a 46-39 lead.

That’s when the freethrow wheels fell off.

Nico Mingione scored to cut the lead to five with 40-seconds to play.

Quinn Meyer missed two freethrows with 30-seconds to play.

Nico Mingione scored with 17-seconds to play.

Trevor Smith missed the front end of a one-and-bonus with 16-seconds to play.

Jacob Sanders made a conventional three-point play with nine seconds remaining, tying the score at 46-46.

A last second attempt by the Pacers missed the mark, and the teams went to the four-minute overtime tied.

Shawe got the overtime tip; and when Jacob Sanders scored with 3:41 to play in the extra period, Madison Shawe held its first lead of the entire game.

Pacer Alex Curran was fouled, but missed both freethrows, and that was followed by David Grote making two charities for the Hilltoppers to extend their lead to four.

Switzerland County found some life, getting a defensive stop before Tyler Queen launched a three-pointer that found the range and sliced the lead down to one with 27-seconds to go.

Forced to foul, the Pacers sent Michael Kring to the line, and he converted both attempts to again extend the lead to three. Switzerland County couldn’t convert on its next trip, and two more freethrows from Michael Kring sealed an improbable victory for the Hilltoppers, who are now in the driver’s seat for a conference title, 54-49.

Keegan Kincaid led Switzerland County with 14 points; while Adam Clark and Quinn Meyer each finished with 11.

Tyler Queen had nine points on three three-pointers; and Trevor Smith finished with four.

Michael Kring led the Hilltoppers with 17 points; while Jacob Sanders had 15 points and Nico Mingione added 11.

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The junior varsity defeated Madison Shawe by a score of 38-32.

Braden Burk led a balanced scoring attack with nine points; while Alex Curran and Chase Ritch each had seven. Clint Swanson and Anthony Dennis each had six points; and Austin Clark added four points to the victory.