Shorthanded Pacers battle back but fall to Lawrenceburg, 66-55

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Coach Brian Bowen’s Switzerland County Pacer basketball team traveled to Lawrenceburg last Thursday night for a non-conference showdown with the Tigers, and although the Pacers were battling injuries and illness, the squad still battled the entire game before falling by 11, 66-55.

Lawrenceburg came into the game with only three losses on its record – one to East Central and two to Batesville. The Tigers are the defending Sectional champions, and with much of that squad returning, Lawrenceburg again looks to be a player come tourney time.

Switzerland County limped into the game without starting center Brennan Bragg, who rolled his ankle in practice earlier in the week and spent some time on crutches. With a game with Jac-Cen-Del this week could mean the conference championship, the Pacer coaching staff chose to rest the sophomore’s ankle and play with senior big man Daniel Welch.

The only problem was that Daniel Welch was hit by the flu and school and spent much of the pregame warmups sitting in the stands wrapped in a winter coat. The senior did dress, start, and play the bulk of minutes in the middle for Switzerland County in the game, but the illness did take its toll.

Lawrenceburg also hampered Switzerland County by running fresh defenders at junior Kyle Green – the leading scorer in the conference – all night long. The heavy pressure and fresh legs held Kyle Green without a point until the fourth quarter – but Pacer teammates stepped up to the challenge.

The game started with Mark Sharp running off two straight buckets, but Lawrenceburg jumped out in front on three straight baskets.

Clay Meyer then scored inside for the Pacers, but Lawrenceburg’s Shawn Powell started a run of 11-2 with a three-pointer and a pair of freethrows. After Daniel Welch scored inside, the Tigers got two more three pointers to move out to a 17-8 lead.

Clay Meyer then scored two more baskets sandwiched around another Tiger score, and the first period ended with Lawrenceburg holding a 19-12 advantage.

The Tigers, known for their up and down, fast-paced style, opened up the second stanza with a 21-2 run – overwhelming Switzerland County, who only managed a basket by Mark Sharp over the first five minutes of the quarter.

With 2:53 to play in the half, Lawrenceburg held a 40-14 lead and it looked like the Pacers were in for a long night.

Switzerland County fought back, outscoring the Tigers 8-2 over the remainder of the quarter. The Pacers got two freethrows from Travis Tackett; two baskets by Clay Meyer, and a bucket by Devon Armstrong to close the half trailing by 20, 42-22.

The Pacers continued to climb back into the game as the third period opened, getting two more baskets on outstanding play by Clay Meyer, two freethrows by Mark Sharp, and another jumper from Devon Armstrong. Lawrenceburg’s offense slowed in the quarter but was still purring, and with 3:45 minutes to play, the Tigers still maintained a 50-30 lead.

The Pacers hit their stride again offensively, getting two freethrows and a jumper from Mark Sharp and a three-pointer by Travis Tackett to cut the lead to 13. Following a Lawrenceburg timeout, Brandon Otter scored and that was followed by another basket by Mark Sharp, and the third quarter ended with the Tigers clinging to a 50-41 lead.

Switzerland County outscored Lawrenceburg 19-8 in the third period.

The final quarter started with both teams trading buckets, but Lawrenceburg’s Doug Seymour – grandson of Switzerland County’s Charlie Seymour – got his offensive game going, running off 10 of his team’s first 14 points of the period.

Kyle Green got on track in the final period as well, shaking off the Tiger defense to score seven key points down the stretch. Mark Sharp kept the offense on track as well, continuing to slice through the lane for big points.

With the Pacer offense in frantic mode, Switzerland County forced the action, but could not get closer than nine the remainder of the game. Lawrenceburg offered some help by going scoreless over the game’s final 1:29; but the Pacers only managed a basket by Kyle Green and a freethrow from Justin Reagan, and closed the game on the short end of a 66-55 score.

Mark Sharp led Switzerland County with 18 points on the night; while Clay Meyer had his best offensive game of the year, finishing with 14 points and grabbing some huge rebounds.

Kyle Green had seven points; Travis Tackett finished with five; and Devon Armstrong and Brandon Otter had four each. Daniel Welch battled through illness to contribute two points; and Justin Reagan had one.

Shawn Powell led Lawrenceburg with 26 points – 18 of those coming in the first half; and Doug Seymour finished with 23.

Neither team was particularly impressive at the freethrow line, as the Pacers were 8-for-15 and the Tigers were 7-for-14.

Looming on the horizon for the Pacers is tomorrow (Friday) night’s showdown at Jac-Cen-Del. A win by the Pacers will earn Switzerland County the conference championship; while a loss will force the Pacers to wait until the Eagles finish their conference season with games against Rising Sun (scheduled for Tuesday night, February 12th) and then Jac-Cen-Del closes at South Ripley next Friday night.

The Jac-Cen-Del game is Switzerland County’s final conference game, and the Pacers currently stand at 5-0 in league play.

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The Switzerland County junior varsity team fell to Lawrenceburg 40-30.

Justin Reagan led the Pacers with 11 points on the night; while Kameron Pavy finished in double figures with 10. Travis Tackett had four points in the game; Alec McAlpine had three; and Corey McFarland finished with two.