Because of the girls Sectional championship game being played on Saturday evening, Coach B.J. McAlister’s varsity Pacers boys team battled in a rare Saturday afternoon ORVC contest against South Ripley at the Pacer gym.
After a nip and tuck first half, South Ripley used some critical second half freethrow shooting to pull away late and claim a 72-59 victory over the Pacers.
South Ripley’s Blake Davis opened the scoring with a three-pointer; and the Pacers responded by pouring the ball inside to junior center Alex Curran, who responded with a bucket down low. Austin Halcomb then scored for the Raiders, and after a minute of action, the Raiders led 5-2.
The Pacer offense then struck, running off eight straight points. The run was fueled by two buckets from Quinn Meyer; a jumper from Keegan Kincaid; and another inside bucket from Alex Curran.
South Ripley countered, getting baskets from Trey Sparks and Blake Davis to draw to within one; and after Anthony Dennis drilled a three-pointer for Switzerland County, two more baskets from Trey Sparks and Blake Davis tied the game at 13-13.
Austin Clark, who has been battling illness, made an immediate impression in the game with a pair of freethrows; and after Cody Federmann scored inside for the Raiders; Austin Clark got a tip in bucket off of a Keegan Kincaid miss that gave the Pacers a 17-15 lead inside a minute.
It didn’t stand, as Brandon Sizemore connected on a three-pointer at the horn to give South Ripley an 18-17 advantage after one explosive offensive quarter.
South Ripley opened the second quarter with baskets by Austin Halcomb and Brandon Sizemore to extend the lead to five; but Keegan Kincaid’s basket and following three-pointer again tied the game at 22-22.
Blake Davis scored for the Raiders; but again Keegan Kincaid responded, hitting a racing layup through the lane. Austin Halcomb then made a freethrow to again give the Raiders a one-point lead; but that’s when the Pacers made a run.
Austin Clark made a pair of freethrows; and Clint Swanson followed that with one charity. Quinn Meyer made a freethrow; as did Trevor Smith. When Trevor Smith followed that with a steal and layup at the one minute mark, Switzerland County had squeaked out to a four point lead, 31-27.
Trey Sparks got South Ripley back to within two; and when Keegan Kincaid scored with just four seconds to play, the teams went to the lockerroom with the Pacers holding a 33-29 lead.
The start of the third quarter saw the Pacers stumble out of the lockerroom offensively, as South Ripley went on a 12-4 run. Quinn Meyer opened the scoring with a basket; and after Austin Halcomb scored for the Raiders; Alex Curran got free for a baseline jumper that kept the Pacer lead at six.
The Raiders then got 10 straight points, getting a freethrow from Trey Sparks; baskets by Blake Davis and Trey Sparks; a put-back basket by Joel Dicken off of a missed freethrow; and a three-pointer form Brandon Sizemore.
Austin Clark stopped that run with a three-pointer; but again Brandon Sizemore hit a crucial bucket. Alex Curran then scored inside; but Brandon Sizemore hit a three-pointer at the 2:29 mark of the third quarter that gave South Ripley a lead that it would never relinquish.
Alex Curran continued his outstanding play with another inside basket; and the Raiders closed the period with a basket by Trey Sparks and two freethrows from Brandon Sizemore to hold a 50-44 lead at the end of the third period.
Trey Sparks opened the final quarter with a bucket; and Anthony Dennis was fouled attempting a three-pointer – connecting on two of the three attempts. Blake Davis and Trey Sparks then hit back-to-back baskets to make the lead 10; and that would begin a march to the freethrow line for the Raiders over the final four minutes.
South Ripley converted 16-of-20 freethrows over the final half of the last quarter to seal the win; as Switzerland County was forced to foul in an attempt to get the ball back.
The Pacers got another basket from Alex Curran; a pair of freethrows from Keegan Kincaid; a basket by Quinn Meyer; a bucket from Keegan Kincaid; a three-pointer from Anthony Dennis; and a basket from Alex Curran in the final quarter, but it wasn’t enough, as the Raiders emerged with a 72-59 win.
Keegan Kincaid led Switzerland County with 15 points on the day; and Alex Curran was in double figures with 14. Austin Clark and Quinn Meyer had nine points each; Anthony Dennis added eight points; Trevor Smith had three; and Clint Swanson chipped in one point.
South Ripley got 19 points each from Brandon Sizemore and Trey Sparks; and Blake Davis had 18.
Again the margin was influenced by freethrow shooting, as the Pacers were 11-for-17 from the line in the game; and the Raiders were 20-for-29.
The loss drops the Switzerland County record to 10-9 overall with two games remaining: tomorrow (Friday) night’s game at Jac-Cen-Del; followed by next Friday’s Senior Night regular season finale when Madison visits.
In jayvee action Saturday afternoon, Switzerland County defeated South Ripley by a score of 53-45.
Riley Phagan was the leading scorer for the Pacers, finishing with 18 points; and Braden Burk had an outstanding all around game, finishing with eight points and six assists.
Dakota Taylor had eight points and five rebounds; Bob Tressler had six points; T.J. White had five points, eight rebounds and four blocks; Justus Powell had four points and three boards; and Ben Curran added four points.