Tourney run comes to an end in Regional final, Lady Pacers end most successful season ever

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The most successful season in Switzerland County Lady Pacer basketball history came to an end on Tuesday night, as the team fell to Providence in the championship game of the Paoli Regional by a score of 49-42.

The final score showed a margin of seven points; but that wasn’t indicative of the back and forth action that filled the thrilling 32-minute battle. Both teams made runs throughout the game, but a cold shooting stretch to open the fourth quarter could not be overcome by a furious comeback, and the year ended with Switzerland County achieving a school-record 21 victories.

Tuesday night’s finale got underway with Kelsi Konkle opening the scoring with a short jumper from the baseline; but Providence came right back with a basket by Hannah Wolford. Brooke Todd then hit a runner in the lane, but Marissa Hornug hit a three-pointer for the Pioneers to push them in front by one.

Eve Galbreath then scored inside to retake the lead for Switzerland County, but moments later the senior center was forced to the bench after she picked up her second foul with 2:01 to go in the first quarter.

Makenzie Mathews hit a jumper to expand the lead to three; and after Hornug scored inside; a basket by Todd closed the first quarter with the Lady Pacers in front by a score of 10-7.

The second quarter opened with Konkle converting after a strong drive to the bucket to push the lead up to five; but Providence responded with a basket by Michaela Hoke. Todd hit a short jumper; but Hoke drilled a three-pointer to draw Providence to within two.

Whitley Schirmer converted a freethrow; but Providence followed that with a basket by Olivia Jenkins and a steal and layup by Hornug to take a one-point lead.

The Pacers were then dealt another blow, when with 3:11 to play in the half Todd was whistled with her second foul, and she took a seat on the bench next to Galbreath.

With Switzerland County’s two leading scorers on the bench, senior Hailee Lay calmly drilled a long three-pointer that gave the Lady Pacers the lead again. Galbreath re-entered the game with 2:38 to go and stayed away from a third foul for the remainder of the half.

Hornug hit a basket to tie the game; but Konkle, playing outstanding defense through the first half, hit another jumper to break the tie.

Providence then caught a break, as Hoke hit a long three-pointer at the buzzer, and the Pioneers went to the halftime break leading Switzerland County, 21-20.

The Lady Pacers made a run to start the third quarter, getting baskets from Galbreath and Konkle; and after Wolford scored for Providence, Galbreath got free inside again for a bucket. With the Lady Pacers up by three, Claire Rauck hit a three-pointer to tie the game with four minutes to play.

Galbreath converted inside again; but the Pioneers had a run of five points on baskets by Jenkins and Wolford and a freethrow from Cheyenne Brooks.

Down by three, the Lady Pacers made a big run, getting baskets by Mathews, Galbreath and Todd to take a three-point lead; but Brooks hit a basket at the buzzer to close the third period with the Lady Pacers eight minutes from a Regional title, leading by one, 34-33.

With a one point lead, the final stanza found the Lady Pacers hit a cold spell, as Switzerland County struggled through nearly six minutes without scoring.

Fortunately for Switzerland County, the Lady Pacer defense wouldn’t allow Providence to get too far away.

Hornug hit a three-pointer for the Pioneers; and Rauck followed that with a basket. Wolford and Brooks each hit freethrows, and with 2:37 to play, Providence held a 40-34 lead.

Switzerland County finally dented the scoreboard when Todd hit a freethrow with 2:24 to go; and Galbreath followed that with a three-point play that drew the Lady Pacers to within two, 40-38, with two minutes to play.

With the large contingent of Switzerland County faithful rising to their feet in support of their team; the Lady Pacers continued to battle.

Hoke scored again for Providence, but Mathews countered that with a jumper. After Rauck made a freethrow, a race through the lane and a basket by Todd closed the gap to 43-42 with 38-seconds to go.

That’s when Providence focused on their freethrow shooting, as the Pioneers would make six of six attempts over the final seconds to extend the lead to seven and close the game with a 49-42 win.

Eve Galbreath closed her high school career with 13 points and 10 rebounds; while Brooke Todd finished with 11 points, five assists, and four rebounds.

Kelsi Konkle closed her outstanding game with eight points, seven rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot; Makenzie Mathews had six points, five rebounds, and two assists; Hailee Lay had three points, four rebounds, and three assists; and Whitley Schirmer added one point.

Konkle and Mathews played all 32 minutes of the contest.

Providence, which now advances to take on Class 2A Number One ranked Heritage Christian this Saturday in the Jeffersonville Semistate, was led by Marissa Hornug with 12 points; while Hannah Wolford had 11 points and Michaela Hoke was in double figures with 10.

The key stat came at the freethrow line, where the Lady Pacers were just 3-for-5 from the line; while Providence was 10-for-17 – that’s where the seven point spread came from.

Switzerland County hit 18 field goals in the game, and also had one three-pointer. Providence had 12 field goals and also made five treys.