PENDLETON — Pendleton Heights was down its third leading scorer and top rebounder Caleb Hardy who averages 10.6 points and 5.2 rebounds Thursday night against Fishers.
His replacement in the starting lineup was senior Nathan Phillips, who gave the Arabians a 10-9 lead with 1:36 to play in the first quarter when Sean McDermott found the 6-foot forward in the lane for the short bucket.
The Arabians (13-4) didn’t give the lead up and defeated the Fishers Tigers 54-41.
Phillips finished with just three points, that bucket being his lone made field goal in two attempts.
Sophomore Kenton Dunham led the Arabians with 20 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.
McDermott, who is scheduled to make an unofficial visit to Purdue University on Saturday when the Boilermakers face in-state rival Indiana University, added 15 points and five rebounds.
“Those two kids are doing a great job,” Pendleton Heights coach Brian Hahn said. “They are really playing well together.”
The 6-4 junior guard, along with Dunham, Levi Buck and Austin Brizendine played all 32 minutes.
“In practice we work really hard,” McDermott said. “We do a bunch of up-and-down hard drills and I think that keeps us in shape. When you get in the game after working so hard in practice, it just carries over from practice.”
Hardy was sidelined due to a stress fracture in his right foot. Hahn said the injury manifested itself last week and hopes the 6-4 sophomore will be back in the lineup in about two weeks.
Prior to Pendleton Heights taking the lead, there were six lead changes.
The Arabians were able to stretch the lead to 12, 35-23 with 2:42 to play in the third, when Dunham sank both free throws after being found on the left post by Devin Chaudion.
While the offense was seemingly clicking on all cylinders, shooting 44.1 percent (15-of-34) from the field, including 43.8 percent (7-of-16) from three, it was the defense that kept the Tigers at bay.
Fishers (6-11) came in averaging 60.6 points, with their previous low point total being 45. The Tigers have the fourth most difficult schedule in Indiana according to the Sagarin Rating.
“I thought we stayed connected,” Hahn said. “Our help was good. I thought we reacted well to penetration. We took away their transition for the most part.
“The big key for us was defensive rebounding. We really rebounded well. That was really critical to try and limit them to one shot.”
Pendleton Heights corralled 23 rebounds, 20 of them on the defensive end, allowing just two offensive boards for Fishers. That translated into a mere two second-chance points.
Fishers made a run late to pull within four, 41-37, when Chaudion, the Tigers leading scorer averaging 18.1 points, hit two of his seven made free throws with 2:47 to play.
Pendleton closed on a 13-4 run to seal the victory.
Pendleton Heights has won eight of its last nine, while Fishers is headed in the opposite direction by dropping four of its last five.