Led by a balanced scoring attack that saw three players finish in double figures in scoring, the Switzerland County Pacer boys varsity basketball team defeated South Dearborn in Friday’s Jefferson County Invitational Tournament, which was held at Madison.
The Pacers and the Knights battled through a close game throughout, but Switzerland County used a strong second half to claim the victory.
The first quarter opened with the Pacers getting their offense rolling early, as Tyler Konkle drilled a three-pointer and Austin South hit a jumper to take an early 5-0 lead. After South Dearborn got in the scoring column with a three-pointer by Ethan Getz; Konkle scored inside. South Dearborn’s Charlie Tedesco then scored; but South countered that, and the tally stood at 9-5 in favor of the Pacers with just under four minutes to play.
The Knights then went on a run, getting another three-pointer from Getz and baskets by John Tedesco and Payton Sipple to take their first lead of the night, 12-9. Damian Breeck then answered that with a bucket; but the Knights got a basket from Isaiah Jefferson to keep the lead at three.
The opening quarter closed with Breeck converting two freethrows, and the teams went to the first break with South Dearborn in front by a point, 14-13.
Switzerland County opened the second quarter on a hot streak, getting a basket by Kyle Whitham and two more from South to jump back in front by five.
Then it was South Dearborn’s turn to make a run, as the Knights reeled off 11 straight points on a bucket inside by Sipple, two three-pointers by Getz, and a three-pointer from John Tedesco.
Konkle closed the half for the Pacers with a basket, and halftime came with South Dearborn in front, 25-21.
Sipple opened the second half with a bucket; but Switzerland County responded, getting two baskets by Whitham and a jumper from South that tied the game at 27-27.
The third quarter also saw the Pacer defense rise to the challenge, as South Dearborn managed to score just four points, while Switzerland County had just eight -but those were enough to tie the game at 29-29 with one more eight minute quarter to go.
Whitham had six of Switzerland County’s eight points in that third quarter.
If the third period was a defensive struggle; the final stanza was an offensive show, as both teams took turns making runs, only to be countered by the other.
South opened the final quarter with a bucket, and when Breeck followed that with a runner moments later, the Pacers were up by four. Sipple scored inside for the Knights to halve the deficit; but Konkle stepped outside the arc and buried a key three-pointer after that, giving Switzerland County a five-point cushion.
Chris Moeller scored for the Knights; but Konkle then moved inside and powered his way to the rim for another score; and South followed that with a jumper in traffic that pushed Switzerland County’s led up to seven with 4:40 to go.
John Bruner stopped that run for South Dearborn, but it was only temporary, as Whitham and South went back to work, and their baskets gave the Pacers their biggest lead of the night, 44-35 with 3:51 to play.
Sipple’s inside basket was matched by two freethrows from South; but then South Dearborn made a last effort, getting baskets from Alex Shackelford, Tyler Morehead, and Jefferson to narrow the gap to 46-43 with under a minute to play.
Switzerland County wasn’t helping themselves at the line, as the Pacers missed four of six attempts -including the front ends of two one and ones – that could have put the game out of reach.
With 13 seconds left, a basket by Shackelford cut the Switzerland County lead down to just one; but the Knights fouled Breeck, and the sophomore went to the line and converted two critical freethrows with 10-seconds left that provided the final margin of victory, 48-45.
South led Switzerland County with 18 points on the night; and he also had eight rebounds. Konkle finished with 12 points and six boards; while Whitham completed the double figure trio, scoring 10 points and pulling down a pair of boards.
Breeck was just outside of double figures, wrapping up the contest with eight points, and he also had five rebounds and four assists.
As a team, Switzerland County shot 47.6-percent from the field for the game, making 20 of 42 shot attempts. The Pacers were just 2-for-9 from three-point range (22-percent); and were just 6-for-12 from the freethrow line for 50-percent. South Dearborn also made 20 field goals in the game on 53 attempts (37.7-percent); were 5-for-19 from three-point range (26.3-percent); but the difference came at the line, as South Dearborn did not attempt a freethrow in the entire game.
South Dearborn was led b Sipple and Getz, each finishing with 12 points.