It wasn’t pretty, but in the world of tournament basketball, what really matters is the ability to survive and advance.
Last Wednesday night, Coach Mark Boggs’ Switzerland County Lady Pacers varsity basketball team opened the Rivertown Classic with a 45=34 victory over Rising Sun.
The Lady Pacers started off quickly, with the team’s vaunted outside shooting on full display.
After Rising Sun’s Kinsey Price opened the game with a bucket; Aleiah Thomas opened the game for Switzerland County with two straight three-pointers. Maddie Duvall followed those with a three-pointer; and when Thomas made her third trey of the opening period, Switzerland County held a 12-2 lead.
But that 12-0 run would be followed by a 7-0 run by Rising Sun to cut the gap to three by the end of the quarter. Kieran Groover fueled that run with five of those points, while Bailey Morris finished off the period with a basket.
Up by three, the Lady Pacers would use the second quarter to take firm command of the contest.
Switzerland County scored the first 15 points of the second, with Thomas scoring to open the run; and after Keirstan Oeffinger scored inside; Thomas scored again. Oeffinger then scored twice, the first coming on a bucket after an offensive layup; and the second coming after the junior made a steal and converted that into a layup.
Thomas then made a steal and threw a long pass to Jaden Harrell for a layup; and Maddie Duvall capped the run with her second three-pointer of the half.
Price finally got the Lady Shiners on the board in the second with a freethrow with two minutes left. Thomas followed that with a layup to extend the lead for Switzerland County; and Sydney Pitts made Rising Sun’s only field goal of the quarter in the final minute, and the teams went to halftime with Switzerland County in front, 29-12.
The third quarter was more slowly paced that the first two, as Switzerland County scored just seven points while Rising Sun managed eight.
Oeffinger again continued her outstanding game, opening the third with two straight baskets; and after Price scored for the Lady Shiners, Harrell made an inside basket and then followed that with a freethrow. Those points gave Switzerland County a 22-point lead, 36-14 — and it appeared that the Lady Pacers were going to roll.
But it was just about to get interesting.
Rising Sun caught fire, coring the final six points of the quarter, but even with that run, the Lady Pacers still held a 16-point advantage, 36-20, with eight minutes to play.
The Lady Shiners saw Morris open the fourth with a three-pointer; but Thomas hit a jumper to nullify that. Maddi Wilson converted two freethrows; but Jessie Duvall and Thomas made back to back jumpers to keep the lead at a comfortable distance, 42-25.
Rising Sun wasn’t going quietly, however, as the Lady Shiners would end the game on a 9-3 run. Oeffinger had a freethrow for Switzerland County; and Harrell closed the game with a bucket to make the final score 45-34.
Thomas led all scorers with 19 points; and Oeffinger was also in double figures with 11. Harrell had seven; Maddie Duvall added six; and Jessie Duvall finished with two.
Groover was in double figures for Rising Sun with 12 points; while Price had seven and Wilson had six. Morris had five and Pitts contributed four.
The win pushed Switzerland County into Friday night’s championship game against Lawenceburg, which defeated South Dearborn in the other semifinal by a score of 57-10.