Clark's career-high 33 leads senior night rout
Pacers honor injured senior Queen with start before rolling over Eagles, 56-30
Saturday, February 16, 2013 4:00 AM
Switzerland County rode the emotion of senior night to dominate Jac-Cen-Del and cruise to a 56-30 win Friday and close out the season undefeated at home.
EMOTIONAL NIGHT: Switzerland County’s Austin Clark is fouled (above, with ball) by Jac-Cen-Del’s Cord Comer during Friday’s game in Vevay. Clark outscored the Eagles by himself, 33-30, in the Pacers’ 56-30 win. Switzerland honored its seniors before the game, including the injured Tyler Queen. Queen got the start but quickly exited and then battled emotions as he sat on the bench (inset). (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Junior Austin Clark pumped in a career-high 33 points to outscore Jac-Cen-Del by himself, and the Pacers never trailed en route to their seventh-straight win.
The victory came on the heels of an emotional moment for Switzerland's players. The Pacers honored injured senior Tyler Queen by giving him the start and allowing him to dribble the ball out of bounds, his only official action of the season.
Queen blew out his ACL in the first practice of the season, the second-straight year that the sharpshooter suffered the injury. The moment brought Switzerland County fans to their feet and tears to the eyes of the normally stoic Queen.
"This night was all about Tyler Queen," Clark said. "Tyler is one of my best friends and we all do everything together. To see him suit up for warm-ups and walk out there it really hit home and made you realize that for the seniors, this could be it.
"I knew Tyler was building (the tears) up," Clark added with a smile. "I made sure to give him a hug when he came off because it meant a lot to him."
With the emotions behind them, the Pacers proceeded to dismantle Jac-Cen-Del quickly. Clark scored the first two baskets of the game and the Swiss never looked back.
Switzerland (15-4, 5-1 Ohio River Valley) led 9-2 early and 15-4 after the first quarter. The Pacers blew open the game in the second with a 16-3 run that gave them a 33-12 lead at the half.
About the only drama left in the game was whether Alex Curran would get his desired dunk in his final home game and whether or not Clark would best JCD on the scoreboard by himself.
While Curran's hopes went by the wayside on two missed alley-oop dunks, Clark made good on his. The 6-foot-6 forward had 16 points at the half, 20 after three quarters and added 12 more in the fourth to eclipse the Eagles by three points.
"I didn't realize it until I got to the lockerroom," Clark said. "(Jac-Cen-Del) is a lot better team than we made them look out there. I didn't realize it until I got into the lockerroom and even then it wasn't a big deal because this was about our seniors."
"Austin is obviously a very good player. He's big and he runs the floor well," Switzerland coach B.J. McAlister said. "The big thing for us is that the guys shared the ball well and we had good ball movement. Sometimes a scorer just has the ball in their hands all of the time but Austin passes well and we play together."
Chase Ritch added eight points for Switzerland County and Trevor Smith scored five. Trent Smith and Adam Siebert scored 10 points each to lead Jac-Cen-Del (5-14, 2-3 ORVC).
The victory allowed Switzerland County to keep pressure on South Ripley for the ORVC championship. The Raiders needed a shot with three seconds to go to survive Rising Sun 43-41 on Friday and clinch a share of the conference crown. Ripley faces Jac-Cen-Del on Friday with a chance to win the ORVC outright.
While Switzerland County will keep an eye on South Ripley, the Pacers are already transitioning into post-season mode. Switzerland travels to Madison for the season finale Friday and the sectional opens in a week and a half.
"The draw comes out Sunday and we'll spend Monday and Tuesday working on our sectional opponent, half of Wednesday on the sectional and then on Thursday we'll get to Madison," McAlister said.
"Madison is a nice rivalry and it's an important game," said Clark, echoing his coach. "But the sectional is our goal and that's what we're concentrating on now."
FRIDAY'S BOYS GAME
SWITZERLAND CO. 56, JAC-CEN-DEL 30
JAC-CEN-DEL 4 8 11 7 - 30
SWITZERLAND CO. 15 18 6 17 - 56
JAC-CEN-DEL (5-14, 2-3 ORVC) - (g)Smith 10, (f)Siebert 10, (g)Brown 4, (c)Pilz 2, Rogers 2, Hooton 2, (f)Comer 0, Anderson 0, Harmeyer 0.
SWITZERLAND CO. (15-4, 5-1 ORVC) - (f)Clark 33, Ritch 8, (g)Smith 5, (f)A. Curran 4, (g)Swanson 2, Tressler 2, B. Curran 2, (g)Queen 0, White 0, Powell 0, Phagan 0, Pegg 0, Hunter 0.
3-Point Goals - Jac-Cen-Del 3 (Smith 3), Switzerland Co. 4 (Clark 2, Ritch 2). Turnovers - Jac-Cen-Del 15, Switzerland Co. 11. Total Fouls - Jac-Cen-Del 10, Switzerland Co. 8. Free Throws - Jac-Cen-Del 1-2, Switzerland Co. 8-12. Fouled Out - None. Next Game - Jac-Cen-Del hosts South Ripley Friday. Switzerland Co. visits Madison Friday.