Injuries and COVID-19 quarantines both impacted the Switzerland County and Rising Sun boys varsity basketball teams on Friday night, but even with each squad missing key pieces, it was still a back and forth battle for the ‘Ruler of the River’ trophy.
In the end, Rising Sun used a big third quarter to pull away and defeat the Pacers by a final score of 49-41.
Playing without starters Ben Hicks and Nate Geyman, Switzerland County got five first quarter points from Bryce Turner and a basket from Jacob Williams to post seven first period points.
Rising Sun would ride its outside shooting expertise all night, posted 10 points in the opening quarter, as Chase Kuehn, Damon Carrigan, and Peyton Merica all had three-pointers and Merica also had a freethrow.
The Pacers began to find their offensive stride in the second quarter, posting 13 points while holding Rising Sun to just six.
Austin Bosaw fueled the second period run for Switzerland County, scoring seven points on two freethrows, a field goal, and a three-pointer; while Turner added three points, Canaan Johnson had a basket; and Bryce Wrightsman added a freethrow.
Switzerland County opened the second quarter on a 10-3 run that provided much of the spark; but again it was outside shooting the kept the Shiners close, as three-pointers Kuehn and Carrigan were the only points of the stanza.
At halftime the Pacers led by a 20-16 count — and Rising Sun had an unusual state line: all five field goals that the Shiners made in the first half were three-pointers, with a freethrow tossed in for the remaining point.
Rising Sun got rolling out of the halftime break, outscoring the Pacers 19-10 to move in front by five with a period to go.
Carrigan and Brady Works opened the third for Rising Sun with baskets; but Turner stopped that run for Switzerland County with a jumper. After Merica made a runner for the Shiners, Bosaw hit his second three-pointer of the night for the Pacers to keep Switzerland County ahead by three with 5:22 to go in the quarter.
Coming out of a timeout, Rising Sun responded, getting back to back three-pointers from Kuehn and two freethrows from Grant Taylor to move in front by five; but Cole Riley stopped that run with a bucket for the Pacers.
Rising Sun countered, as Dylan Martin made a freethrow and Carrigan followed that with a jumper to extend Rising Sun’s lead to six; and after Wrightsman made a three-pointer for the Pacers, a late bucket by Rising Sun’s Dalton Vinup gave the Shiners the five point lead.
The Shiners and the Pacers continued their back and forth play in the final eight minutes; as Martin connected on a three-pointer for Rising Sun to open the fourth quarter scoring.
Canaan Johnson hit two key freethrows for the Pacers; and after Taylor scored again for the Shiners, Wrightsman drilled a field goal to keep things close.
Pacer coach Travis Wrightsman then called a timeout with his troops down by six; and back on the floor the back and forth continued.
Kolten Smith scored inside for the Shiners; and that was followed by a basket by Bosaw for the Pacers. Merica hit a freethrow and Williams hit a contested bucket in the lane to draw the Pacers to within five, 43-38, with 4:45 to go.
Merica made two freethrows at that point, followed by a charity from Martin that extended the Shiner lead to 46-38.
Turner drilled a huge three-pointer for the Pacers at that point to keep things interesting, but the Shiners got two freethrows from Works and a freethrow from Martin to close the game with an eight-point margin, 49-41.
Turner led Switzerland County with 13 points in the game; while Bosaw was right behind with 12.
Wrightsman had six points; Williams and Canaan Johnson each had four; and Riley added two.
Rising Sun, playing without key players Landon Cole, Chris Bowne, and Kendall Montgomery, were led by Kuehn with 12 points; Carrigan with 10; and Merica with nine.
Martin had six points; Works and Taylor each had four; and Smith and Vinup contributed two points each.
Both teams made 15 field goals in the game, but the difference came in where those shots found the range — as Switzerland County had 11 two point field goals and four three-pointers; while Rising Sun had eight of their 15 field goals come from behind the three-point line.
Switzerland County earned a big win in the junior varsity game by a score of 51-27.
Leading the way for the Pacers was Austin Hemingway with 19 points, while Trace Johnson finished in double figures with 12.
Bradley Romans had eight points; Aiden Griffith finished with six points; Canaan Johnson had four; and Levi Curlin and Dylan Sullivan each chipped in a point.