OSGOOD - Switzerland County and Jac-Cen-Del's girls basketball teams knew what was at stake when they stepped on the floor Saturday afternoon. Their play reflected it as well.

In a battle of the final unbeaten teams in the Ohio River Valley Conference, Jac-Cen-Del defeated the Pacers in a thrilling 51-48 showdown that gave the Eagles sole possession of first place and bumped the Pacers into a second place tie with Southwestern.

Jac-Cen-Del (14-2, 4-0 ORVC), ranked No. 8 in Class 1A, led from the start and never trailed in the contest. But up 38-27 with 6:42 left in the game, the Eagles found themselves watching the game slip away thanks in large part to one particular Pacer.

After struggling to find her offensive rhythm in the first three quarters, Switzerland County guard Brooke Todd had had enough. Down 11, the 5-foot-6 sophomore guard put her team on her back, scoring 17 of her career-high 27 points in the fourth quarter to bring the Pacers within one, 49-48, with 13 seconds left in the game.

But just as soon as the Pacers had that momentum, it was all gone within a blink of an eye after a controversial call put the Eagles in position to push their lead back to three.

Going the length of the floor after Todd's final field goal of the game, Jac-Cen-Del's inbounds pass on the ensuing possession connected with the foam portion of the backboard.

While in most cases that results in a turnover, the officials allowed play to continue and Switzerland was forced to foul Jac-Cen-Del's Sydney Keene with eight second left. Keene drilled both shots to put the Eagles up 51-48 and Switzerland's attempt to tie the game at the buzzer missed when Mercedes Parham's 3-pointer fell just short.

Later discovery proved the officials' call right as Section 7 of the IHSAA rule book states only the back and supports of the back board are cause of an out of bounds to be called but the unclear explanation during the game left Pacers head coach Ashley Kitts fuming.

"The official told me it could hit the bottom of the backboard but it couldn't hit the back of the backboard ... I had never heard that," Kitts said. "You know it's not the reason we lost that game but I thought it took our kids out of it especially after they had fought so hard to get back in it."

A pesky Jac-Cen-Del man-to-man defense, both full-court and half-court, kept Switzerland off its game until the fourth quarter. The Pacers never trailed by more than 11 but the early struggles - missed shots, missed free throws and lack of offensive execution - made even the tiniest deficit seem bigger than normal.

"We started out uptight," Kitts said. "We missed a lot of lay-ups and a lot of free throws early and if we would have knocked those down then this game is probably a different story. We could sit here and say all the what-ifs but at the end of the day we just have to move on and learn from it."

Switzerland's fourth quarter was more to Kitts' liking. Behind Todd, the Pacers' offense fixed its mistakes from the previous 24 minutes and the defense turned up the heat, forcing the Eagles into some bad spots on the floor following Hayley Bruns' personal 6-0 run that gave Jac-Cen-Del an 11-point advantage.

"The girls played their hearts out in that fourth quarter," Kitts said. "They did everything they were supposed to and executed perfectly. We just have to make sure that we play that way the entire game."

Todd was the only Pacer in double figures and her 27 points led all scorers. Her heroic efforts in the fourth were no surprise to her coach.

"We always talk about how it only takes one person to step up to get everyone else going and Brooke did that," Kitts said. "With (Eve) Galbreath battling foul trouble all day we needed her to be that person. She did it on both ends of the floor."

Keene led Jac-Cen-Del with 12 and Bruns added 10.

Switzerland County (11-6, 3-1 ORVC) visits Southwestern (10-10, 4-1 ORVC) on Tuesday with the winner taking control of second place in the ORVC.


Saturday's Girls Game

at Osgood



SWITZERLAND CO. 4 11 12 21 - 48

JAC-CEN-DEL 9 12 11 19 - 51

SWITZERLAND CO. (11-6, 3-1 ORVC) - (g)Todd 27, (g)Mathews 9, (c)Galbreath 8, (f)Konkle 4, (f)Ricketts 0, Coy 0, Parham 0, Lay 0.

JAC-CEN-DEL (14-2, 4-0 ORVC) - (g)Keene 12, Bruns 10, (f)Hughes 7, (f)Day 6, Wagner 6, (f)Ronsheim 5, (c)Menchhofer 5.

3-Point Goals - Switzerland Co. 3 (Todd 1, Mathews 1, Konkle 1), Jac-Cen-Del 0. Free Throws - Switzerland Co. 18-25, Jac-Cen-Del 11-19. Fouled Out - Switzerland Co.: Galbreath. Next Game - Switzerland Co. visits Southwestern on Tuesday, Jac-Cen-Del hosts Greensburg on Tuesday.