Switzerland County’s Baylie Scudder, along with teammates Erika Coy (above, 33) and Shelby O’Neal (35), watch the action closely late in Tuesday’s sectional game at South Ripley. Pacers’ coach Ashley Chase (below) reacts after her attempts to call a time-out were ignored and Switzerland was whistled for a 10-second penalty. The Pacers’ last-second shot missed in a 35-34 loss. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Switzerland County’s Baylie Scudder, along with teammates Erika Coy (above, 33) and Shelby O’Neal (35), watch the action closely late in Tuesday’s sectional game at South Ripley. Pacers’ coach Ashley Chase (below) reacts after her attempts to call a time-out were ignored and Switzerland was whistled for a 10-second penalty. The Pacers’ last-second shot missed in a 35-34 loss. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
VERSAILLES - Switzerland County's bid for a last-second win came up short in the Pacers' 35-34 basketball loss to North Decatur in the opening round of the Class 2A Sectional at South Ripley on Tuesday.

The two teams battled all the way to the end with neither squad holding more than a five-point lead. Switzerland led as late as 2:50 left in regulation and had three chances to go ahead in the closing seconds.

The first two chances went by the wayside due to turnovers and the third ended in the closing seconds when Bre Ricketts' game-winner bounced off the rim.

It was a disappointing end for the young Pacers, especially considering that they executed their game-plan almost to perfection.

"Ultimately we did exactly what we wanted to do defensively," Switzerland coach Ashley Chase said. "We executed the things that we wanted to do, we were focused and that's something we haven't done this season, put together a full four quarters and tonight I thought we did that. It just came down to one possession."

Switzerland (9-13) came into the game intent on slowing down the Chargers' strong 5-foot-11 senior Jenna Meyer. And while Meyer finished with a game-high 16 points, for the most part, the Pacers felt like they did their job.

Switzerland opened the game in a diamond-and-one with a chaser on Meyer and spent the rest of the contest switching defenses every time she got comfortable. The result was a slow, deliberate game that seemed to favor the underdogs.

After trailing 9-8 after one quarter the Pacers went on a 9-0 run to open their largest lead of the game at 17-12 midway through the second quarter. The lead didn't last long and North closed the gap to one by halftime.

But the slow play set the tone for a nip-and-tuck second half. The Chargers took their largest lead of the game, 28-24, late in the third quarter and still led by four (30-26) heading into the fourth.

Freshmen Brooke Todd and Makenzie Mathews opened the fourth with back-to-back baskets to tie the game for the Pacers and the two teams traded points from then on.

Todd's free throw with 4:49 left put Switzerland back on top, 33-32, and Todd made another foul shot with 2:50 left to push the lead to two. As it turned out, that free throw would be the Pacers' last point in the game.

Anna Wallpe tied the game for North Decatur with a put-back at the 2:34 mark and the game remained tied at 34-34 until the final minute.

Nothing seemed to go right for the Swiss in the final 60 seconds. First, with 40 seconds left, the Pacers were hit with a 10-second call despite the fact that Chase spent at least three seconds trying to call a time-out. The Swiss coach went so far as to go cross the half-court line in an attempt to get the officials' attention to no avail.

Meyer took advantage of that turnover to hit a free throw to put North up 35-34 but 20 seconds still remained for Switzerland to deliver a game-winner.

The Pacers' second chance failed when a pass in the corner sailed through Mathews' arms giving possession back to the Chargers with 11 seconds left.

North Decatur's Mary Hughes missed the front end of a bonus free throw to give Switzerland one final shot. Ricketts got the pass on the right side of the basket with six seconds left, but her 10-footer glanced off the back end of the rim.

Mathews got the offensive rebound but was unable to get a good shot off before the buzzer as Charger defenders closed on her possession.

After the game, Chase lamented the lost chances her team had in the final minute.

"It was just one possession and you think of the time-out we didn't get or when we threw it away," Chase said. "We made some mistakes at the end. Bre should have rip-drove to the basket; she really didn't need to take that shot from where she did. But they're young, and at the end of the game things are moving so fast. That's something we're going to get better at and I guarantee next year we're not going to make those mistakes."

Todd finished the game with 11 points and spent most of the game guarding Meyer - a player who stands a half-a-foot taller - one-on-one. Sophomore Eve Galbreath had 10 points.

While Chase has rejected playing the youth card all season, the second-year coach admitted that inexperience played a factor in some of her team's struggles this season. The Pacers' only two seniors, Emily White and Shelby O'Neal, played a combined 10 games this season due to injuries.

"I'm disappointed and it hurts but then I think of how young this team is and how I have them all back next year," Chase said. "At the end of the game we had three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior on the floor.

"We're going to work in the summer and we're going to get better and this is going to be an even better team next year," Chase said. "This really is like halftime and we have another season with this group. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. I'm ready to get back to work right now. I'm excited."

North Decatur (13-8) advances to Friday's semifinals where the Chargers will face Milan (1-18), which received the tourney's bye. South Ripley (15-6) will play No. 8 Austin (17-4) in the other semifinal.

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CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 45

at Versailles

Opening Round

NORTH DECATUR 35,

SWITZERLAND CO. 34



NORTH DECATUR 9 9 12 5 - 35

SWITZERLAND CO. 8 11 7 8 - 34



NORTH DECATUR (13-8) - (f)Meyer 16, (g)Hughes 7, (c)An. Wallpe 6, (f)Volk 6, (g)Geis 0, Al. Wallpe 0, Yager 0, Krieger 0, Nobbe 0.

SWITZERLAND CO. (9-13) - (g)Todd 11, (c)Galbreath 10, (f)Konkle 6, Mathews 5, (g)Ricketts 2, (g)Parham 0, Lay 0, Coy 0.



3-Point Goals - North Decatur 2 (Hughes 1, Meyer 1), Switzerland Co. 2 (Konkle 2). Total Fouls - North Decatur 13, Switzerland Co. 12. Free Throws - North Decatur 3-7, Switzerland Co. 8-12. Fouled Out - None. Next Game - North Decatur faces Milan in the Class 2A Sectional semifinals Friday. Switzerland Co.'s season ends.