LAPEL — After a tough loss to Lapel in the semifinals of the Madison County Tournament, the Pendleton Heights girls basketball team turned around and handed Alexandria-Monroe a 90-41 loss to take third-place honors.
In the opening sequence, senior Megan Mills stole the ball and went down the court for the Arabians’ first score, setting the tone for what was to come.
Pendleton Heights held the Tigers to single-digit scoring in both the first and third quarters. By the end of the first eight minutes, the Arabians had a 23-4 lead.
By halftime, the Arabians were up 47-17, and as in the win against Anderson Prep in the opening round, nearly the entire roster saw floor time.
“We wanted to be better today. Not even worried about who we were playing, but we wanted to get better at what we’re trying to do,” coach Chad Cook said.
The Arabians were able to capitalize on turnovers. Sophomore Kylea Lloyd had five steals for the game, but Mills and junior Kylie Davis both had four. In all, the Arabians stole from the Tigers 21 times.
“Our defense led to some really good offense,” Cook said. “Our defense did a really good job of blocking out. It was a good chance for us to get everybody out there.”
Mills led the Arabians’ scoring with 18 points, and senior teammate Aubree Dwiggins had 15 points and seven rebounds.
Cook used a zone defense against the Tigers to prepare for end-of-season games.
“We’re going to be play- ing a lot of zones and wan-ted a chance for us to get better at that. I thought we did a good job of attacking that,” Cook said.
Cook said the team has progressed well from settling for outside shots to moving to the basket.
“We started the year shooting too many settle shots. We’ve gotten a lot better at getting stuff going to the basket.”
He said while things didn’t go their way in the 53-52 loss to Lapel, he wanted to remind fans at this game who they were as a team. “I thought we came out and answered it well,” Cook said.
With seven games remaining in the regular season, the games of the Madison County Tournament are good for sectional preparation.
“We talked about the nerves you might feel in the tournament and having three games over the six-day period. That’s the sectional setup. So it’s really good to have a chance to do that,” Cook said.
The Arabians (8-8) travel to New Palestine Jan. 17 and then to Rushville Jan. 18.