The Switzerland County Lady Pacers opened the 2019 Rivertown Classic last Wednesday night at South Dearborn against the host Lady Knights — and Coach Mark Boggs’s troops never quite found its offensive rhythm, falling by a final score of 62-44.
South Dearborn jumped out early, scoring the first 10 points of the contest before Coach Boggs called a timeout to settle his charges.
Aleiah Thomas finally broke Switzerland County into the scoring column at the 4:20 mark with a three-point play; and after South Dearborn got a basket from Elsa Meek, Lady Pacer Maddie Duvall drilled a three-pointer. Moments later after South Dearborn scored again, Maddie Duvall hit her second three-pointer, and it seemed as though Switzerland County was finding its footing, down 14-9 with just over three minutes left.
The two teams bounced back and forth in the scoring column for the rest of the quarter, with South Dearborn getting another basket by Meek and a three-pointer by Alyssa McClanahan; while Switzerland County got two freethrows from Jaden Harrell and another pair of charities from Jessie Duvall to end the quarter with South Dearborn out in front, 19-13.
The back and forth continued as the second quarter opened; with Kyrstin Bond scoring for South Dearborn before Thomas drilled a three-pointer for Switzerland County. McClanahan made two freethrows; but Keirstan Oeffinger followed that with a bucket. Bond scored, but that was negated by an inside basket by Rylee Hankins; and after Meek scored again, Thomas converted a freethrow, and with 3:24 left in the half, South Dearborn held a 27-21 advantage.
Bond then connected on a three-pointer for the Lady Knights; but Thomas answered that with a traditional three-point play. South Dearborn then got two straight baskets by Rileigh Powell and McClanahan to make the lead 10.
That sparked a Switzerland County rally, as the Lady Pacers got two freethrows from Thomas and a bucket by Josie Meyer to get within six; but the half ended with Bond making two freethows, and the teams went to the break with South Dearborn in front, 36-28.
After Brooke Huddleston opened the second half scoring for South Dearborn, Jessie Duvall scored for the Lady Pacers; but Huddleston came right back with two straight baskets to push the lead up to 12. Oeffinger then converted a steal into a layup; but again Switzerland County couldn’t get a stop, as Bond scored again. Oeffinger scored again; but Bryanna LaGreca closed the third period with a three-point play; and heading into the final eight minutes, South Dearborn still held a 13-point lead, 47-34.
Riley Ampt opened the final stanza with a basket that pushed the Lady Knight lead up to 15; but Switzerland County responded with two freethrows and a basket by Thomas to get within 11.
South Dearborn then went on a run of five straight points that all but sealed the fate of the game; and after Thomas scored again; Switzerland County couldn’t put together a consistent defense that would allow the Lady Pacers to get back in the game. Baskets by Oeffinger and Jessie Duvall were matched by South Dearborn scores; and the Lady Knights closed the game with four straight freethrows by McClanahan to close the game with a 62-44 score, propelling South Dearborn into the tournament’s championship game while relegating Switzerland County to the consolation round.
Thomas led Switzerland County with 18 points; while Oeffinger finished with eight. Maddie Duvall and Jessie Duvall each added six points; while Harrell, Hankins, and Meyer each added two.
Bond led South Dearborn with 17 points; and McClanahan was in double figures with 16.