Second half struggles dooms Pacers as Jac-Cen-Del picks up 71-60 win


Last Friday night’s Switzerland County-Jac-Cen-Del varsity boys basketball game had all the makings of a classic, as the winner would remain in the hunt for a conference championship.

That feeling came true during the first half of play, as both teams battled back and forth, but a slow second half by Switzerland County allowed the Eagles to pull away and secure the victory, 71-60.

The Eagles drew first blood on a three-pointer by Joe Abplanalp; but the Pacers came right back with an inside bucket by Adam Clark. After Jayson Purdy scored for Jac-Cen-Del, Adam Clark converted a pair of freethrows to keep the game close.

The Eagles then made a bit of a run, getting another three-pointer from Joe Abplanalp and a bucket from Matt Speer to move out to a six point advantage; but again the Pacers poured the ball inside to Adam Clark, and his basket – accounting for Switzerland County’s first six points – narrowed the lead to four, 10-6.

After Trevor Arnett scored for the Eagles, Keegan Kincaid drilled a long three-pointer; but Jayson Purdy answered that with a three-pointer of his own, and Jac-Cen-Del maintained its six-point lead.

The Pacer fans came to their feet moments later when Keegan Kincaid threw a perfect alley-oop pass to Alex Curran, and the sophomore rose high above the rim to gather the pass and drop it safely through the net.

Jac-Cen-Del responded, getting two straight baskets from Trevor Arnett to move out to an eight point bulge, but the Pacers ended the period on a run, getting a three-pointer from Tyler Queen and a three-point play from Keegan Kincaid to bring the opening quarter to a close with the Eagles holding a 19-17 lead.

The Pacers grabbed their first lead of the contest as the second period opened, getting another three-pointer from Keegan Kincaid; but again Eagle sharpshooter Matt Speer answered that with a three-pointer, taking the lead right back for Jac-Cen-Del. Trevor Arnett then converted a pair of freethrows, and the Eagles were back out to a four point lead, 24-20.

That didn’t last long, as Keegan Kincaid hit another three-pointer, his third of the opening half, and the Pacers served notice that they weren’t going away.

The remainder of the half was a back and forth affair, as Jac-Cen-Del got a pair of baskets and a three-pointer; while the Pacers got baskets from Quinn Meyer, Alex Curran, and a buzzer-beater from Keegan Kincaid to send the teams to the lockerroom with the Eagles holding a 31-29 lead.

As close as the opening half was, however, Switzerland County just couldn’t seem to maintain that same intensity in the second half, as Jac-Cen-Del steadily built on their lead.

After Jac-Cen-Del opened the third quarter with a pair of buckets, Switzerland County got on the second half scoreboard when a tremendous pass from Trevor Smith found its way to Adam Clark, who laid it in for two.

The Eagles came right back with four straight freethrows that extended the lead back to eight; but Quinn Meyer got free for a jumper. That was matched by Trent Smith, and Switzerland County looked for an offensive spark.

It came in the presence of Adam Clark, who accounted for five straight points to draw the Pacers back to within three with 2:46 to go, 41-38.

But it didn’t last.

Jac-Cen-Del reeled off the next six points to take the air out of the Pacer run and holding a nine-point lead; but again Keegan Kincaid had some last second heroics, and his dash to the bucket resulted in another buzzer-beating score, and at the end of the third quarter, the Eagles held a 47-40 lead.

Matt Speer owned the start of the final period, drilling two straight three-pointers to swell the Eagle lead to 13 points; and when Joe Abplanalp scored inside moments later, Jac-Cen-Del held a 55-40 lead with 6:28 to play.

Switzerland County countered, getting a three-point play from Adam Clark as he worked his way inside; but the Eagles responded with four straight points from Trevor Arnett, to make the lead 16.

Adam Clark scored again, but the Eagles matched. Tyler Queen hit a jumper, but the Eagles matched with a pair of freethrows.

It just didn’t seem that the Pacers could get a defensive stop at a critical juncture of the contest.

It was back and forth from there, as Adam Clark continued to do damage inside; while Jac-Cen-Del was content to go to the freethrow line and sink charities for the rest of the contest – the Eagles were 16-for-18 at the freethrow line for the game.

Keegan Kincaid made a pair of freethrows and Adam Clark scored again, but each time the Pacers started a run, the Eagles would quell it with holding the ball and making freethrows.

Another basket and another three-pointer by Keegan Kincaid and a last-second basket by Quinn Meyer were not enough, merely closing the final gap to 11 as the Eagles left the Pacer gym with a 71-60 win.

Keegan Kincaid led Switzerland County with 23 points, including four three-pointers on the night; and senior Adam Clark wrapped up his home career with 22 points.

Quinn Meyer added six points; Tyler Queen had five; and Alex Curran finished with four.

Jac-Cen-Del was led by Trevor Arnett and Matt Speer with 17 points each; while Joe Abplanalp had 15 and Derek Lunsford added 13.

Switzerland County now wraps up its regular season tomorrow (Friday) night when they travel to Madison; and then enter tournament play this Tuesday as they play Lawrenceburg in the South Ripley Sectional at 7 p.m.


In junior varsity action, Switzerland County defeated Jac-Cen-Del by a score of 31-26.

The Pacers were led by Clint Swanson and Austin Clark; who each finished with 10 points. Hunter Jordan had five points; Anthony Dennis contributed four points; and Alex Curran chipped in two.

Tomorrow night’s game will be the season finale for Coach Mark Boggs’ troops.