By Travis Whitton
For The Herald Bulletin
MUNCIE, Ind. —
The Pendleton Heights boys basketball team let a big third quarter lead slip through their hands and were dealt a road loss to the Muncie Southside Rebels 38-36 Saturday.
The Arabians (8-7) held a slim 12-11 first quarter lead, but they exploded in the second quarter and walked into the halftime locker room with a 28-14 lead. They were seemingly in control at that point.
Pendleton Heights held the Rebels (5-9) to three points in the second period and allowed them just five shot attempts.
Whatever was said by the South coaches at halftime sank in, as did the Rebels’ shots. They hit 11-of-20 from the field in the final 16 minutes on the way to outscoring the Arabians 24-8 to snag the two-point victory.
Pendleton Heights coach Brian Hahn said that the biggest difference between the first and second half was his team’s aggressive style of play.
“I thought we weren’t aggressive,” said Hahn. “I didn’t think we were as aggressive as we needed to be in the third and going into the fourth quarter. When we lost that aggression I thought that really fueled them.”
He also felt like one of the other reasons for the loss was the fact that they didn’t hit their shots.
Two of the most glaring stats in the game proved his theory to be true. The Arabians were 0-of-12 from three-point range and 6-of-13 from the foul line.
Hahn’s team still had a shot to win the game with less than 10 ticks on the clock. Sean McDermott nailed a 3-pointer that would have put Pendleton Heights up by one, but Hahn called a timeout prior to the shot.
McDermott’s shot was wiped off the scoreboard leaving the score 38-36 in favor of the Rebels and Hahn took the blame.
“At the end of the game I made a bad timeout,” said the Arabians coach. “We had a set drawn up. I didn’t think the action was there, and Sean knocked in a big three and that was my fault. That was the difference at the end of the game. That’s really what happened at the end.”
Despite the ill-timed call by the coach, he said that his team has struggled with consistency all season and this was just another sign of that inconsistent play.
The heartbreaking loss didn’t detour Hahn, and he said his team will bounce back and play hard in next Friday’s game against Yorktown.
“We’ll bounce back and we’ll compete, and that’s what we do,” he said. “We’ll come out next Friday and compete. We have a lot of season left. We’ve got a lot of improvement we can continue to make, and we’ll continue to work in practice to get better. This is one game on one night, and we didn’t lose anything tonight.
“We didn’t lose any championships. We didn’t lose anything, and we’re continuing to try to get better to build towards the sectional.”
Kurt Talbert paced the Arabians with 17 points and five rebounds. Brogan Gary scored eight of his 10 points in the first half, but he was held to 1-of-6 from the field and 0-of-2 from the line in the second half.
Muncie South’s Terrance Johnson paced his team with 18 points on the night. Darrian Elliott led the team with seven boards, and the Rebels out-rebounded Pendleton Heights 26-15 in the game.