The Ruler of the River rivalry was renewed on Friday night as the Switzerland County Pacers traveled to take on the Rising Sun Shiners; and after a closely played first quarter, a big second period by the Shiners fueled a run that ultimately led to the Pacers falling by a final score of 79-59.
Switzerland County was saddled with foul trouble to its star, as Austin South was hit with his third foul with 5:45 to go in the first half, sending him to a seat next to head coach Adam Dennis as Switzerland County worked to get to halftime and still be within striking distance.
South opened the scoring in the game with a three-pointer; but Noah Pflum followed that with a freethrow and a basket, and fans for both teams settled in for an exciting game. Damian Breeck hit a three-pointer; but that was followed by a Shiner run, as Rising Sun reeled off six straight points on baskets by Brent Turner, Nick Koons, and Jacob Bovard.
Pacer Kyle Whitham played a big role in the first with six points; but Rising Sun would not relinquish the lead. A freethrow by Tyler Konkle closed the first quarter scoring with the Shiners in front, 14-13.
Things seemed to be status quo as the second quarter opened with South hitting two freethrows to put the Pacers up by one, 15-14; but then Rising Sun went off, as the Shiners would score 14 straight points over a three minute span to grab firm control of the contest. Much of the damage came courtesy of Koons and Pflum; and with four minutes to play, Rising Sun held a 28-15 lead.
Switzerland County then responded on the back of Whitham, as the senior hit a three-pointer and followed that with a freethrow to get back within nine; but Koons stopped that run with two straight baskets; and Jason McClellan hit a freethrow, Rising Sun was again back in control, 33-19, with two minutes until the half.
Zach Weaver came off the bench to play some key minutes and contributed a basket; but it was again time for another Shiner run. Landon Cole hit a jumper, and then Pflum was fouled and went to the line for a pair of freethrows. After Pflum made the first, referees noticed blood on his knee, and sent him to the bench for it to be cleaned up. Koons, who was getting a breather at the time, came into the game and went to the line for the second freethrow, which he made to make the lead 16 points.
The half finally ended with Whitham making a freethrow, and the break couldn’t come soon enough for the Pacers, as they headed to the locker room to try and regain their footing.
The third quarter continued at a fever pitch, as Switzerland County outscored their hosts 20-18 in the period, climbing closer to the lead.
Rising Sun had built a 51-30 lead with 2:16 to play, but that’s when Switzerland County made a run, as Whitham made a basket, Breeck followed that with two straight three-pointers, and Konkle made a freethrow to get to within 12 with a minute to play.
After Koons made a freethrow, everyone was racing back upcourt when a referee accidentally ran into Pacer coach Adam Dennis, who was straddling the out of bounds line while barking out instructions to his team. After some discussion, the refs hit Dennis with a technical foul; but Koons could only manage one freethrow and the Pacer defense held the Shiners without a basket on the following possession.
With 12-seconds left, Breeck hit his third three-pointer in a two minute span, and that drew the Pacers to within 10 points; but at the buzzer McClellan hit a huge three-pointer that revived the Shiner team and crowd, and with a quarter to play, Rising Sun led 55-42.
In the fourth quarter, everything seemed to find the range for the Shiners, as Rising Sun outscored Switzerland County 24-17 to seal the win.
Whitham continued his strong play with seven points in the period, including going five-for-eight from the freethrow line; and both South and Kenyon Bledsoe had three-pointers. Konkle had a pair of freethrows, and Cade Rider contributed a basket. Rising Sun saw offense break out from everywhere, as Turner had six points and four other players had four points each. By the final horn, Rising Sun had pulled away to a 20-point advantage, 79-59.
Whitham led Switzerland County with 22 points; while South finished with 12 points in spite of being hit with foul issues all night. Breeck also had 12; Konkle had four; Bledsoe had three; and Rising, Justin Chatham, and Weaver had two points each.
Koons led all scorers with 25 points; while Pflum had 15; Turner had 12; and McClellan had 10.
In the junior varsity game, Rising Sun defeated Switzerland County 59-45.
The Pacers were led by Zach Weaver with 14 points; Doug Pedraza had 10; Landon Wilks had nine; Coby Chase had eight; and Damian Courter added four.