Switzerland County’s Aleiah Thomas (above, left) and Southwestern’s Ashton Goode (middle) fight for a ball as the Pacers’ Maddie Duvall tries to get in on the play during Thursday’s girls Ohio River Valley Conference basketball game in Vevay. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Switzerland County’s Aleiah Thomas (above, left) and Southwestern’s Ashton Goode (middle) fight for a ball as the Pacers’ Maddie Duvall tries to get in on the play during Thursday’s girls Ohio River Valley Conference basketball game in Vevay. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Southwestern cranked up its defensive pressure in the second half and turned a 10-point deficit into a 48-44 come-from-behind victory at Switzerland County in girls Ohio River Valley Conference basketball on Thursday.

The Rebels, who shot 51 percent from the game but turned the ball over 22 times, trailed 34-24 with 3:03 left in the third quarter and were still down by seven (42-35) with 3:45 left in the fourth.

But Switzerland County couldn’t hold the lead. After turning the ball over just two times in the first half, the Pacers had 15 turnovers in the second and it played right into Southwestern’s hands.

Back-to-back steals by the Rebels led to easy buckets by Abby Ralston and Bella Marcum to give Southwestern a 43-42 lead with 2:22 to go. After Aleiah Thomas hit a pair of free throws to give the lead back to Switzerland, Ralston hit two freebies on her end and the Rebels seized the lead for good.

Switzerland didn’t score again. Ralston added two more free throws with 31 seconds to play to push the margin to four and Switzerland missed two shots down the stretch allowing the Rebels to escape with the win.

For Southwestern coach Devin Brierly, whose team has lost six out of its last seven games, the win couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It feels really good to get a win,” Brierly said. “I think in the second half we looked a lot more in control which is what I wanted to see. In the first half I feel like we got rattled which caused us to get down so much. But in the second half we got settled down into more of what we wanted to do and I thought our defensive pressure really got us going.”

Southwestern’s defense proved to be the difference in the game. While several of Switzerland’s turnovers in the second half came on bad passes, the Pacers were also a victim of 15 Rebel steals, including five each by Ralston and Marcum.

Switzerland also didn’t shoot the ball well. While the Pacers hit seven 3-pointers in the game, they only connected on 36 percent (16-of-44) of their attempts overall while going to the free-throw line just seven times.

“It came down to execution and turning the ball over,” Switzerland coach Mark Boggs said. “I just thought we got a little complacent. (Southwestern) got into their pressure and they made us pay for it. We just made bad plays.”

After struggling with just two points in the first half, Ralston came alive in the second half and scored 14 points on just 4-of-6 shooting while going 5-of-6 from the foul line. Marcum carried the Rebels in the first half with 11 points and her 18 points and eight rebounds both were game-highs.

“I told Abby after the game that I thought she was non-existent in the first half but she did some really good things for us in the second half and stepped up and hit some really crucial free throws. That’s what you expect a senior to do,” Brierly said. “Bella has been playing well all year and for her to carry us in that first half was huge. Without her, we’re not in the ballgame. I’m really proud of those two and I expect that out of them every night.”

Thomas tied Marcum for game-high honors with 18 points to lead Switzerland while Maddie Duvall scored 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc.

The game leaves both teams at 2-1 in the ORVC with three games to go in league play. Switzerland travels to New Washington on Saturday while Southwestern travels to Rising Sun on Tuesday.

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THURSDAY’S GIRLS GAME

at Vevay

SOUTHWESTERN 48,

SWITZERLAND CO. 44



SOUTHWESTERN 8 9 11 20 — 48

SWITZERLAND CO. 9 13 12 10 — 44



SOUTHWESTERN (6-14, 2-1 ORVC) — (g)Marcum 18, (g)Ralston 14, Eccles 8, (g)Goode 4, (g)McLain 2, (g)Fulton 2, Brooks 0.

SWITZERLAND CO. (9-8, 2-1 ORVC) — (g)Thomas 18, (g)M. Duvall 16, (g)J. Duvall 8, (f)Hankins 2, (f)Lay 0, Oeffinger 0, Meyer 0, Harrell 0.



3-Point Goals — Southwestern 2 (Ralston 1, Marcum 1), Switzerland Co. 7 (M. Duvall 4, J. Duvall 2, Thomas 1). Rebounds — Southwestern 30 (Eccles 8, Marcum 8), Switzerland Co. 19 (Hankins 5). Assists — Southwestern 10 (Ralston 4), Switzerland Co. 12 (J. Duvall 5). Turnovers — Southwestern 22, Switzerland Co. 17. Total Fouls — Southwestern 10, Switzerland Co. 10. Free Throws — Southwestern 8-10, Switzerland Co. 5-7. Fouled Out — None.