It was a game of runs, but in Saturday night’s championship game of the Rivertown Classic, the Switzerland County Pacers couldn’t put together a long enough offensive run to make headway against the Lawrenceburg Tigers, falling in the finale by a final score of 55-40.
Lawrenceburg came out hot with Gavin Yoon making two straight baskets; but then the Pacers steadied themselves a bit, getting the ball inside to Zach Weaver for a score. After Mitch McCool made a pair of freethrows for Lawrenceburg; Switzerland County got a basket from Damian Breeck and two freethrows from Coby Chase to tie the game at 6-6 — and moments later the Pacers took the lead when Breeck scored off of an assist from Dallas Snider, 8-6.
McCool made a three-pointer to wipe away that lead; and Jackson Bobo (6’7”) scored inside to push the lead to three, 11-8.
That didn’t last long, either, as Breeck drilled a three-pointer in the closing seconds to close the first period with the teams deadlocked in an 11-11 tie.
The opening minutes of the second quarter spelled doom for Switzerland County, as the Pacers struggled to get their fast-paced offense moving — in part because senior sparkplug point guard Landon Wilks was on the bench saddled with foul trouble.
The Tigers got a score from Gavin Yoon to break the tie; but Chase hit a floater that again tied the contest. Lawrenceburg then scored six points in a row on field goals by Dahya Patel, Gavin Yoon, and Brayden York — but again Switzerland County responded, getting two freethrows from Chase and a basket by Weaver. The Tigers countered with a bucket by Kamar Chenault; but Breeck matched that to keep things close. Garrett Yoon then closed the half with a three-pointer in the closed seconds, and the teams went to the break with Lawrenceburg in front, 24-19.
Gavin Yoon opened the second half scoring with two freethrows to extend the lead, but Weaver powered his way inside for a bucket to negate that. McCool then connected on a three-pointer, and again it was Weaver to respond, scoring inside again to make the score 29-23 in favor of Lawrenceburg with just under six minutes left in the period.
Lawrenceburg got hot, with Bobo scoring inside, Garrett Yoon hitting another three-pointer, and Bobo finding the range on a short jumper to push the Tigers’ six point lead up to 13 with three-minutes to go in the third.
Chase stopped that run with a three-pointer; and Breeck hit a jumper to close the gap to 11 — and when Breeck grabbed a rebound in the closing seconds of the period, the senior drilled a long shot from just over halfcourt, slicing the lead down to eight, 39-31, and bringing the Switzerland County faithful to their feet.
With eight minutes left to decide the championship, the Tigers opened the fourth with two freethrows by Gavin Yoon; but Breeck found the range on another three-pointer, and the Pacers were within seven.
Garrett Yoon then took over, hitting a three-pointer and following that with two freethrows, and the Lawrenceburg lead was again back in double figures, 46-34.
Breeck scored on a jumper from the wing; but the Tigers got a field goal and two freethrows from Chenault to keep the Pacers at bay. Breeck scored again, but the Tigers would wrap up the title at the freethrow line, connecting on five of six attempts in the final minute. Ben Hicks had a bucket for the Pacers; but as the final horn sounded, Lawrenceburg won the championship by a final score of 55-40.
Breeck led Switzerland County with 21 points in the game; while Chase finished with nine; Weaver had eight; and Hicks added two.
For his efforts, Breeck earned a spot on the All Tournament Team.
Lawrenceburg was led by Gavin Yoon with 12; Garrett Yoon with 11; and McCool with eight.
A key statistic came at the freethrow line, where Switzerland County was just two of six for the game; while the Tigers were 15-for-19. That 13-point swing was a huge part of the final score.
The Pacers now come home for a huge conference weekend, hosting Southwestern tomorrow (Friday) night and then entertaining South Ripley on Saturday night. That’s followed by a trip to Rising Sun on Friday night, January 24th; and then it’s a streak of three straight home games: New Washington for Homecoming on Friday, January 31st; Milan on Saturday, February 1st; and Scottsburg on Thursday, February 6th.
Then it’s a brutal five game stretch on the road, starting with Lawrenceburg on Saturday, February 8th in an afternoon contest; then at Shawe Memorial on Friday, February 14th; at Franklin County on Saturday, February 15th; at Jac-Cen-Del on Friday, February 21st; and at South Dearborn on Saturday, February 22nd.
The regular season then finishes with a home game against Madison on Thursday, February 27th.
This year’s Sectional is a new one for the Pacers, and will be played at Southwestern beginning on Tuesday, March 3rd. Although the venue is familiar, most of the opponents won’t be, as Switzerland County and Southwestern will be joined by Austin, Henryville, Providence, and Clarksville.