Arabians foil Marauders in fifth conference clash

FORTVILLE — Pendleton Heights traveled to Mt. Vernon for a conference clash on Saturday, Dec. 2, and walked away with a 51-39 win.

The win moved the Arabians’ record to 5-4 (4-1, Hoosier Heritage Conference).

It was senior Lauren Landes who began and ended the game for the Arabians.

During an 8-0 run in the first quarter, she had three straight assists. Junior Kailyn Graham was on the receiving end of two of those assists as she hit consecutive 3-pointers.

“Before the game I told (Graham) to hit her shots,” Landes said. “She said OK, I dished her the ball, and she hit her shots. That’s what she needs to do.”

It was Landes again late in the game.

With 2:56 to play, Pendleton Heights called a timeout after a Mt. Vernon 3-pointer cut the Arabians’ lead to 12. When it came time for the Marauders to start fouling, Landes connected on five free throws to close out the game.

“We shoot a lot of free throws at practice, and I just know I’m confident in my free-throw shooting percentage,” Landes said. “When they give me the ball and they want to foul me, I’m OK with that.”

One reason Mt. Vernon was able to make the game tighter down the stretch is Pendleton Heights allowed too many offensive rebounds.

“That stings,” head coach Chad Cook said. “So, that’s gonna help us learn. You see what happens when you give up second and third chances, and you give up six points because you don’t rebound in a couple possessions.”

While Pendleton Heights was able to build and maintain a healthy lead throughout the game, the Arabians still had to deal with a couple early scoring droughts, including one that lasted almost three minutes in the second quarter.

Cook chalked it up to the offense being too impatient as girls started thinking about their own scoring.

“When you’re going through spells like that, you want to get easy ones,” Cook said.

On the defensive end, sophomore Aubree Dwiggins was tasked with stopping Mt. Vernon’s leading scorer, and sophomore Laikyn Conner patrolled the paint area with eight defensive rebounds.

“We’re finding that Aubree is responding well to the challenge,” Cook said.

With a 4-1 conference record, Pendleton Heights is in a unique position because other conference teams have played only one or two games so far.

“It’s kind of weird to be jumping out with so many conference games so early in the season,” Cook said. “It’s nice to be 4-1 in the conference, even though we’re just 5-4 at this point. But, we want to win the conference, we want to win the county and we want to win sectionals. We’ve got those goals, and we want to attain them.”

Pendleton Heights lost to Hamilton Southeastern 52-22 on Tuesday, Dec. 5; the Arabians travel to Delta today, Thursday, Dec. 7.