Old rivals met in the championship game of the Class 2A Sectional #45 on Saturday night, and — as they did in the regular season — Coach Mark Boggs’s Lady Pacers couldn’t find the solution to their offensive woes against the Lady Raiders, and Switzerland County’s season came to an end on the short end of a 42-26 score.
From the outset the Lady Pacers just couldn’t find their offensive, with normally deadly outside shooting going cold, and the inside paint area tough going as South Ripley’s zone defense shut down entry passes.
The result was the Switzerland County offense disappearing in the entire first three quarters — and by the time the Lady Pacers rallied in the fourth, the deficit was simply too much to overcome.
Switzerland County would score just three points in the first period — a three-pointer by Jessie Duvall; but the good news in that was that South Ripley managed just six points in the same span — four by Rachel Meyer and a field goal by Gracie Gunter — so after the first eight minutes of play, the Lady Pacers were down by just three points, 6-3.
That changed in the second quarter, as South Ripley got its offense rolling, scoring 14 points; while Switzerland County still was cold from the floor, scoring just two points in the second.
Nora Hankins made two freethrows to account for those points, as Switzerland County failed to make a shot from the floor.
Rachel Meyer and Gunter continued to fuel the South Ripley run, as each had five points in the second; and Janie San Miguel had four.
The teams headed into the halftime break with South Ripley holding a 20-5 lead, and Switzerland County wondering what was going on offensively.
It didn’t get better in the third.
Switzerland County remained out of sorts coming out of the break, scoring just four points in the stanza; while South Ripley posted another 11 points to its total, and the third period ended with the Lady Raiders on top, 31-9.
Jessie Duvall hit a three-pointer in the third and Hankins added a freethrow to account for all of the scoring.
Down by 22 with eight minutes to play, Switzerland County represented itself, its school, and the community well in the fourth, battling until the final seconds.
The Lady Pacers would score 17 points in the fourth — nearly doubling its output from the first three quarters; while South Ripley had 11 points in the fourth — enough to keep a comfortable lead.
Jessie Duvall had seven points in the fourth on a three-pointer, a field goal, and two freethrows; while Keirstan Oeffinger added a three-pointer.
Gracie White had two field goals off the bench for four points; and Hankins chipped in a field goal and a freethrow for the final three.
For the game, Jessie Duvall led Switzerland County with 13 points; while Hankins had six and White finished with four. Oeffinger added three.
Rachel Meyer had 14 to lead South Ripley, which now advanced to this Saturday’s Regional at Crawford County.
South Ripley (17-5) will play Eastern Pekin (13-9) in the Regional’s second game of the morning.
The Regional’s opening game will pit Linton-Stockton (23-1) against Forest Park (17-3).