PENDLETON — Friday night, the Pendleton Heights Arabians hosted the Greenfield Central Cougars riding a four-game winning streak and in control of their own destiny as they seek a Hoosier Heritage Conference crown.
The Cougars, meanwhile, came into the game winless in the conference and 1-12 on the season. It took a while but the Arabians were able to wear down the Cougars to pick up a 55-36 win and put themselves in great position to wrap up the HHC crown next Friday at Yorktown.
The host Arabians wore special white uniforms for the game in honor of the Indiana National Guard with camouflage trim and numbers. “Pendleton” was replaced on the front by values such as “honor”, “integrity” and “courage.”
Pendleton came out a little slow as Greenfield displayed scrappiness not normally seen by a one-win team.
“We knew Greenfield was a much improved team,” Pendleton coach Brian Hahn said. “They’ve been playing everybody tough.”
Pendleton led the entire night, including a seven-point halftime lead which was its largest of the half. The pivotal quarter proved to be the third as Pendleton showed some patience on offense, hit some big shots and started to pull away.
Pendleton led 27-19 when Sean McDermott scored four straight points and Caleb Hardy added two free throws for a 33-19 advantage. But the dagger may have been the next shot, a 3-pointer by Levi Buck from the top of the key with three minutes left in the third to give Pendleton its largest lead (17 points) of the night to that point.
Greenfield did not go down without a fight however, as sophomore guard Tate Hall scored eight of his game-high 19 points in the third to keep the score from getting out of control. “He’s a good player,” Hahn said of Hall. “I was pleased with how we defended him through about 26-28 minutes of the game but we kind of got out of control defensively and let him get some drives and three point plays.”