After a disappointing semifinal loss on Wednesday night to South Dearborn in the first round of the Rivertown Classic, the Switzerland County Lady Pacers rebounded on Friday night with a 44-31 victory over Rising Sun in the consolation game.
The two rivals are very familiar with each other; and that showed early in the game, as both tried to gain the upper hand.
Aleiah Thomas started right back where she finished on Wednesday, opening the game with a three-point play; and after Danyka Groover scored for the Lady Shiners, Thomas scored again on a short jumper. Groover then connected on a freethrow; but Maddie Duvall drove home a three-pointer that gave Switzerland County a five point lead.
After Sydney Bostic scored for Rising Sun; the Lady Pacers went on a run, getting a basket from Thomas, a layup from Thomas off of an assist from Lexi Lay; and a freethrow from Jaden Harrell to push the lead to eight points, 13-5, with two minutes to go in the quarter.
Kinsey Price made a freethrow for the Lady Shiners, and that closed the first eight minutes of play, with Switzerland County holding a 13-6 lead.
The second quarter got off to a fast start for the Lady Pacers, as Harrell grabbed an offensive rebound and made the put-back; and moments later Lay connected from the baseline to push the lead into double figures.
Groover made a freethrow; but Harrell answered that with a bucket, forcing Lady Shiner coach Abby Friend into a timeout.
Out of the break, Rising Sun went on a run, getting a freethrow from Sydney Pitts, a basket by Groover, and a three-pointer by Bostic to cut the Lady Pacer lead down to six.
Josie Meyer stopped that run with a three-pointer for Switzerland County; and after Groover scored again; Switzerland County finished off the half with two straight inside buckets from Rylee Hankins, and the teams went to the halftime break with Switzerland County leading, 26-15.
Thomas got things rolling again as the third period got underway, scoring on a jumper. Pitts followed that with a field goal for Rising Sun; but Thomas came right back and scored again to keep the lead at 13 points.
After another Rising Sun timeout, Groover scored inside again; but Switzerland County countered that with a three-pointer by Maddie Duvall and a layup from Thomas to extend the lead to 16 points, 35-19.
Rising Sun responded with baskets by Maddi Wilson and Lindsay Montgomery; but again Thomas took over the game, scoring the final five points on a field goal and a three-point play to close out the third quarter with the Lady Pacers on top, 40-23.
Thomas had 20 points — half of Switzerland County’s output — through the first three periods.
The final eight minutes opened with Montgomery scoring inside for Rising Sun, and Wilson followed that with a short jumper. Thomas then went to the line on two straight trips offensively for the Lady Pacers —making one of two attempts each time — and from that point on, the defenses for both teams took over, as the Lady Pacers would not make a field goal in the final stanza. Switzerland County did get two more freethrows from Maddie Duvall, and that was more than enough to hold off the Lady Shiners and claim the victory, 44-31.
Thomas again led all scorers with 22 points — earning her a spot on the All Tourney Team — while Maddie Duvall finished with eight points. Harrell contributed five points. Hankins had four points; while Josie Meyer had three points and Lay added two.
Groover led Rising sun with 10 points; and Bostic added five.
The split in the tournament leaves Switzerland County with an overall record of 9-7, and coach Mark Boggs’s squad now heads into the busy portion of its schedule. The Lady Pacers host Southwestern tonight (Thursday), and then travel to New Washington this Saturday for an afternoon game. Switzerland County then returns home on Tuesday, January 15th to host Jac-Cen-Del.