he Switzerland County Pacer boys basketball team opened its season on Saturday night, and battled early, but couldn’t overcome some late charges by the Clarksville Generals, and fell by a final score of 63-49.
Coach Adam Dennis’ charges were supposed to open the year on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving against East Central, but that game got moved because the Trojan football team was still participating in the state tournament. That meant that the Pacers got to open at home, but against a team that had already played one game.
Saturday’s contest began with Clarksville pushing the ball inside to center Christian Stewart, and the senior responded with an early bucket. The Pacers got on the board when Damian Breeck scored off of a nifty assist by Justin Chatham; but Clarksville went right back inside to Stewart to again grab the early advantage.
The Pacers then went on a run, reeling off eight straight points on baskets by Breeck and Tyler Konkle, a freethrow by Chatham, and a three-pointer from Austin South. Clarksville answered with two straight baskets from Ethan Cummings to draw to within two; but the period ended with South scoring off of an assist from Kyle Whitham, and the teams went to the first break with the Pacers holding a 12-8 lead.
The Generals opened the second stanza with a three-pointer by Charles VanWinkle and a basket by Charles Carter to take their first lead of the night; but a three-pointer by Breeck quickly pushed the Pacers back in front. South followed that with a steal and a layup, and with just over five minutes to play, Switzerland County held a 17-13 lead. VanWinkle hit another three-pointer to cut that to one; but Pacer Cade Rider drilled a three-pointer to extend the Switzerland County lead to four.
It was then that the Pacer offense went flat, as Switzerland County would go nearly four minutes without scoring. Clarksville got a basket from Stewart and a pair of freethrows by Murphy McEwen to again tie the game, but the Pacer defense worked hard to keep the Clarksville offense from doing more damage. South broke the Pacer dry spell with two freethrows with 46-seconds to play; but Clarksville got a three-point play by Stewart to close the half with the Generals holding a 23-22 lead.
Stewart opened the second half with a three-point play and then the senior scored again to give Clarksville a 28-22 lead; but Breeck snapped the run with two freethrows. VanWinkle then hit another three-pointer that gave Clarksville a seven point lead; but South scored again for Switzerland County and Breeck followed that with a basket that trimmed the lead down to three. McEwen scored; but South answered that with a three-point play, keeping the game razor close. Stewart made a pair of freethrows; and followed that with a basket; but South had another three-point play. Clarksville got two more freethrows; but Kaleb Harrell made a three-pointer for Switzerland County that kept the Pacers within two.
Clarksville closed the third period with a freethrow and a basket, and with eight minutes to play, the Generals held a 42-37 advantage.
Chatham opened the final quarter with a bucket that narrowed the gap to three; but Cummings hit a key three-pointer that stopped the possibility of a Pacer run. Whitham scored right after; but Clarksville countered that with baskets by VanWinkle and McEwen that got the lead to eight. Whitham found his range with a three-pointer; but the Generals then went on a six point march, extending their lead to 55-44 with 3:18 to go. South broke that run with a jumper, but Stewart came right back inside to match that. Whitham had a freethrow, but again the Generals went back inside to Stewart, who scored again to make the lead 12.
Two straight baskets by Seth Hamilton widened the Clarksville lead to 16; and the game ended with Whitham making a pair of freethrows that made the fin margin 14 points, 63-49.
South finished with 19 points to lead Switzerland County; while Breeck was also in double figures with 11. Whitham had eight points; while Rider, Chatham, and Harrell had three each. Konkle chipped in two.
Stewart led Clarksville with 22; while McEwen was in double figures with 13 and Cummings had 11.
Switzerland County returns to the court tonight (Thursday), when the Pacers travel to South Ripley to tangle with the Raiders.
In the junior varsity game, Clarksville defeated Switzerland County by a final score of 55-44.
The Pacers were led by Rio Paragallo with 12 points; with both Dough Pedraza and Landon Wilks finishing with eight points. Coby Chase had six points; Logan Bennett and Cade Rider each had four; and Zach Weaver added two points.