12/27/2012 3:00:00 PM Pacers come from seven down in final
1:16 to claim overtime win over Warriors
The players from Switzerland County and Christian Academy of Indiana had so much fun in their game on Friday night, they decided to play a little more.
The Pacers and the Warriors played an overtime period laced with a furious back and forth pace before Switzerland County roared back to claim a 73-72 win on a tip in by Alex Curran at the buzzer.
The final bucket was the culmination of a heart-stopping four minute overtime period. Tied at 62-62 at the end of regulation, the Warriors went on an offensive run in the overtime period, and held a 70-62 lead with 1:16 to play.
But just as the Pacer faithful was readying itself to go home disappointed, junior Austin Clark took over the game and willed his team to the victory. Coming out of a timeout, Austin Clark scored to cut the lead to six; and moments later the Pacer big man drilled a three-pointer from the corner, and suddenly the lead was just three with 51-seconds to play.
Christian Academy's Aaron Hayes, who would finish with 44 points on the night, struggled at the freethrow line, and after making the first he missed the second to push the lead back to four.
Again the Pacers went to Austin Clark, and the junior responded again, busting through Warrior defenders to make the score 71-69 with 40-seconds to play.
In what was billed as a "Silent Night" for Switzerland County fans, the Pacer crowd was on their feet and in a frenzy as the Pacer defense turned up the heat. Braden Burk was whistled for a foul, and after the Warriors' Aaron Eldridge managed to make only one of two freethrows, Switzerland County raced upcourt.
The ball went to sharpshooter Chase Ritch, and his three-point attempt bounced off, but he was clobbered by Christian Academy's James Martin on the attempt, and things got even more crazy as Chase Ritch went to the line for three attempts.
Down three, Chase Ritch's first two attempts found the range; but his third attempt bounced off.
That's when Austin Clark came to the rescue again, making the play of the night when he tied up the Warrior rebounder off of the miss. Possession went to the Pacers on the alternating possession, and suddenly Switzerland County had the ball, down by one with just 24-seconds to play.
The Pacers looked for a good shot as the clock wound down, and when it went into single digits, the ball went down to the left baseline to Austin Clark, and when his turn around jumper bounced off, there was Alex Curran, who cleaned up the miss, and his put-back rebound bucket edged the Pacers in front with just three-seconds to play.
Without a timeout, Christian Academy tried to move the ball quickly, and their desperation shot didn't find the range; and the Pacer bench and the Pacer crowed erupted in cheers.
Final score: Switzerland County 73, Christian Academy 72.
An overtime thriller - but it almost didn't go to overtime.
Switzerland County led for most of the contest, even though the Warriors' Aaron Hayes couldn't miss.
Christian Academy kept chipping away at the lead until there was 3:35 to play in the third quarter, when James Martin's traditional three-point play gave the Warriors a 34-32 lead.
Austin Clark made two freethrows to tie the game; and moments later Braden Burk made a floater in the lane to give the Pacers a 36-34 lead.
The Warriors got a basket from DeVonta King to tie the game. Christian Academy then got a bucket from Aaron Eldridge and a three-pointer from Aaron Hayes to take a 41-36 lead with 1:27 to play in the period.
The Pacers responded. Chase Ritch hit a jumper; and seconds later Austin Clark made a three-pointer to again tie the game. A runner in the lane by Trevor Smith gave Switzerland County a 43-41 lead heading in the fourth period.
Chase Ritch opened the final quarter with a three-pointer; and a basket by Aaron Hayes pulled the Warriors to within one. Alex Curran made a basket inside; but again Aaron Hayes kept things close.
Trevor Smith raced down the baseline for another bucket to make the lead five points; and the Pacer defense nearly caused a 10-second violation. Christian Academy couldn't convert; and when T.J. White made a short jumper in the lane, the Pacers again held a seven-point lead, and seemed to have squashed the Warrior comeback attempt.
Aaron Hayes made a three-pointer; but Chase Ritch converted a traditional three-point play, and again the lead was seven with five minutes to go.
Christian Academy went on a run, getting a three-pointer from Aaron Eldridge; and three-point play from Aaron Hayes. When DeVonta King converted inside with 3:08 to play, the Warriors suddenly held a one point lead, 56-55.
The Warriors extended their lead to three on a basket by Aaron Eldridge; but with 1:42 to go, Chase Ritch drilled a long three-pointer to tie the game. Aaron Hayes scored again to give the Warriors another lead; but Austin Clark barreled down the baseline for a conversion that tied the game at 60-60.
Braden Burk then made a runner from the wing that gave Switzerland County a 62-60 lead with 16-seconds to play; but with just four-seconds to go, Aaron Eldridge hit a short jumper to tie the game.
Out of timeouts, Switzerland County raced upcourt; and as Chase Ritch tried to get off a halfcourt shot at the horn, he was molested by a crowd of Warriors - all of whom ended up in a pile on the Road Runner head at midcourt.
Everyone stood and cheered for the foul.
Except there was no foul.
The referees stood silently as Pacer head coach B.J. McAlister - in bare feet from the night's "Shoes for Kids" event - and the rest of the Switzerland County coaching staff screamed in disbelief from the sidelines.
The controversial no call left the game tied and set up the tension-filled overtime period.
Austin Clark had an outstanding game overall, finishing with 27 points. Chase Ritch had 19 points; and Trevor Smith made it three Switzerland County players in double figures, as he had 12.
Alex Curran had nine points in the game; Braden Burk had four; and T.J. White added two.
Aaron Hayes had 44 points for the Warriors; and Aaron Eldridge was also in double figures with 18.
The game was billed as "Silent Night" for Pacer fans, as everyone was encouraged to remain completely silent until Switzerland County scored its 10th point of the contest.
That took awhile, but Austin Clark's three-pointer with 1:44 to play in the opening quarter sent the silent crowd into a huge roar.
It was also a "Shoes for Kids" event, raising awareness about children around the world who don't have shoes to wear. Coach McAlister and the entire coaching staff coached in bare feet throughout the contest, and at halftime of the varsity game more than $200 was raised through donations tossed on the gym floor. Special tee-shirts sold for the occasion also helped raise money for the project.
In the junior varsity game, Switzerland County defeated Christian Academy by a 34-18 score.
Riley Phagan and Nathan Hunter led the balanced scoring attack with nine points each; and Justus Powell added seven points. Ben Curran had six points, and Tristen Bolton contributed three points.