By Brady Extin | The Times-Post
PENDLETON — Friday night was a historic night inside the Pendleton Heights Gymnasium as junior guard Kaycie Warfel became the 11th girls basketball player in school history to break the 1,000 career point mark.
And while she led the show, an all-around effort by the Arabians on both ends of the floor led to a 55-26 win against
Greenfield-Central. The win was Pendleton’s eighth straight over the Cougars dating back to 2017 and pushed the Arabians to a 2-0 start in Hoosier Heritage Conference play.
“There’s a lot of players on this team that have felt heartbreak, whether it be losing the county final to Lapel last year, or the tough game to Mt. Vernon in the sectional. They want to be better, and they’ve made a commitment to it,” Pendleton Heights head coach Nick Rogers said. “Just a fantastic effort out there tonight, and I told them that in the locker room. We’ve just got to take it one game at a time and stay focused.”
From the jump, the physicality and tough defense of Pendleton Heights was on full display and caused the Cougars issues.
The Arabians scored the first six points of the game on two Olivia Jones free throws, a Warfel steal and layup, and an offensive rebound leading to a Jones layup.
Those six points were the precursor to the success that Pendleton Heights had on both ends of the floor.
Thirty-one G-C turnovers and 12 Pendleton Heights offensive rebounds allowed the Arabians to coast to the easy win. The Arabians finished the game with 24 steals.
“The defensive effort tonight was superb,” Rogers said. “The team has really made a commitment to that end of the floor.”
Madison Sonsini knocked home the Cougars’ first basket midway through the first quarter, but an Adah Hupfer basket and free throw pushed the Arabians lead to 11-2 late in the quarter, and a Makayla Morrison basket made things 13-2 after one.
After a Chaney Brown layup early in the second quarter, four straight Warfel points made things 19-4.
Sonsini added two late baskets, but two more Arabians offensive boards led to four final-minute points and a 25-10 halftime lead.
“It’s a tough team. They play physical, and we didn’t match their physical play. That’s been our M.O. sometimes,” Greenfield-Central head coach Bradley Key said.
The Arabians standout guard, Warfel, had another big night on her way to reaching the 1,000 career point milestone.
A 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter put her over the 1,000 mark and was just part of a 22-point and eight-steal effort.
“She’s a generational talent. To do that five games into her junior year is a testament to her hard work. That’s the first time this year where she’s seen that kind of defense, a box-and-one, so for her to still be able to do that with that type of coverage is great,” Rogers said. “I’m super proud of her. She even shared the ball and got all her teammates involved even on such a big night for her. I just can’t say enough about her performance tonight.”
Trying to focus on her led to different Greenfield-Central looks on defense, and allowed the Arabians to attack the offensive glass.
“When you play a team like Pendleton you have to throw different defenses at them to try and contain Warfel. She’s a really great player, getting to 1,000 points in the fifth game of her junior year is really impressive,” Key said.
After three early Brown third-quarter points, the Arabians put the game out of reach. They outscored the Cougars 18-7 in the quarter to take a 43-17 lead into the final eight minutes.
“Give all credit to Pendleton — they’re a great team, have great players and a great coach,” Greenfield-Central head coach Bradley Key said.
Sonsini led the Cougars offensively with 16 points and added three blocks on the defensive end.
Warfel led Pendleton Heights with 22, but eight players found the basket.
Hupfer had 14 and 10 rebounds, Jones added six, Skylar Baldwin had four, Emma Roberts knocked down a 3-pointer, and Morrison, Mamie Trout and Aubree Warfel each had two.
“That’s one of the things that we’ve talked about. We have to be balanced. For us to be successful we need to have a lot of people chipping in,” Rogers said. “We have lots of new faces to this team, so for them to build that confidence now is going to pay dividends in January and February.”