Arabians come close to being Royals’ pain


PENDLETON — On paper, the Pendleton Heights basketball team didn’t stand a chance against one of the top teams in the state. Coming into the game at 2-6, the Arabians were facing No. 7 Hamilton Southeastern, which came to the Arabians’ gym with 7-footer Mabor Majak.

But they did have a chance.

While the Arabians lost the game 50-44, they did a lot of things right, which coach Kevin Bates praised.

“I was really proud of their effort all night,” Bates said.

For one thing, the Royals are averaging close to 70 points per game and have one loss this season.

The Arabians’ zone defense pressured the Royals out of their offense, and Majak scored only 6 points.

“We thought our zone could give them problems, and we could rebound off it,” Bates said.

The Arabians gave up just five offensive rebounds.

Hamilton Southeastern capitalized on six second-chance points.

The Royals kept the Arabians at bay with 8- and 9-point leads but never put away the game.

In the final 30 seconds, Pendleton Heights closed the gap to 3 points on free throws by Christian Jones. Jones hit 2-3 to cut the HSE lead to 46-43, but time ran out.

Bates said he knew one of the keys to the game would be rebounding, and the Arabians kept pace with the Royals by snagging 16 defensive rebounds. Tristan Ross led Pendleton with eight of them.

The Arabians won the free-throw battle, hitting 13 of 15, while the Royals hit a dismal 11 of 23.

Pendleton Heights didn’t have any players in double figures, but seven Arabians contributed to the effort with Damieon Warrum leading the team with 8. Christian Conkling and Jones each had 7.

“I think tonight does give us some momentum,” Bates said.

The Arabians were on a break until Dec. 31, when they were to face Frankton in their opening game of the Madison County tournament (not over by press time).

“We’re not going to be able to walk in and think we’re going to be able to beat Frankton. They’re going to come at us with everything,” Bates said.

The Arabians’ goal was to bring home a third county title in a row. The tournament runs through Friday, Jan. 4.

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