Basketball tradition says that it’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, but that’s exactly what the Switzerland County Lady Pacers would have to do in last Friday night’s Sectional semifinal against South Ripley.
The Lady Pacers put in a strong performance in the semifinal, never trailing in the contest and securing a 58-39 win.
Switzerland County got off to a quick start, scoring the first six points on two straight inside baskets from Eve Galbreath and a runner in the lane from Brooke Todd.
South Ripley got back in the game with baskets by Kiley Sparks and Toria Tucker; but Brooke Todd hit a jumper from the elbow to stop that run. The Raiders got a freethrow from Tucker and a rebound put-back off of a missed freethrow by Haley Schwarte to get within one; but again the Pacers answered with a basket by Galbreath; a layup by Makenzie Mathews and two freethrows from Todd to double up the score at 14-7; but again South Ripley answered with two freethrows by Erin Gloyd and a charity from Julia Rea, and the first quarter ended with the Lady Pacers in front, 14-10.
The second quarter opened with Kelsi Konkle drilling a three-pointer for Switzerland County, and after Gloyd made two freethrows, Galbreath scored inside on a great pass from Mathews.
Sparks tried to get the Raiders rolling with a three-point play; but Whitley Schirmer worked hard on defense, getting a steal and converting it to a layup. Mathews then hit a jumper and Todd scored off of an outstanding pass from Schirmer, and the half came to a close with the Lady Pacers in front, 25-15.
South Ripley opened the third quarter with a short run on baskets by Sparks and Tucker and a freethrow by Gloyd; but the Lady Pacers answered with baskets from Todd and Schirmer and the lead remained at nine.
Ellie Ayers hit a three-pointer for the Lady Raiders; but that started a run by Switzerland County.
Hailee Lay began the run with two freethrows; and Konkle followed that with a jumper. Lay then converted a traditional three-point play; and the lead was up to 13.
Schwarte broke that run for South Ripley with a basket; but Konkle hit a freethrow; and after Gloyd scored inside; Todd had a three-point play. Tucker’s inside bucket for South Ripley closed the quarter with Switzerland County in front, 40-29.
The Lady Pacers put the game away early in the fourth, as Schirmer’s three-pointer was followed by a layup from Galbreath. South Ripley got a freethrow from Sparks and a three-pointer by Schwarte; but again Galbreath worked her way inside for a bucket. Gloyd then made a freethrow; but Konkle matched that; and after Sparks made two freethrows; Switzerland County got three freethrows from Todd and two more from Lay; and the lead swelled to 17, 53-36.
Gloyd scored inside for South Ripley; but Galbreath got free inside and was fouled while making the basket, and when her freethrow found the range; it was time for Coach Ashley Kitts to clear her bench, and the Lady Pacers moved into the Sectional championship game with a convincing 58-39 win.
Brooke Todd led Switzerland County in scoring with 16 points, and she also added five rebounds and six assists. Eve Galbreath was right behind, finishing with 15 points, and she also had nine rebounds.
A trio of Lady Pacers had seven points: Hailee Lay also had an assist; Kelsi Konkle added six rebounds to her tally; and Whitley Schirmer also had a rebound and two assists.
Makenzie Mathews had four points, four rebounds and two assists; and Bre Braun contributed two points.
South Ripley was led by Kiley Sparks and Erin Gloyd, who each had 10.