NEW CASTLE — Reminded his team is now riding a nine-game sectional winning streak Wednesday night, Brian Hahn made it very clear he wasn't interested in that line of questioning.
"I didn't even hear what you just said," the Pendleton Heights boys basketball coach said, finishing with a hint of a smile.
Despite three straight Class 4A sectional championships and four consecutive appearances in the title game, the Arabians (15-7) are not interested in looking back.
They moved forward again in the opening round with a flawed but fundamentally sound 47-33 victory against rival Anderson.
"We talked a lot all week about keeping our emotions under control, and I thought we played a little bit emotional tonight," Hahn said. "It's a rivalry game, and I think we were a little bit over emotional at times. But once we settled in, once we executed, I thought we did a great job."
At first blush, very little seemingly went right for Pendleton Heights. The Arabians turned the ball over 16 times and shot just 7-for-15 from the free-throw line.
Leading scorers Sean McDermott and Kenton Dunham got into early foul trouble and spent chunks of the first half watching from the bench, and starting center Caleb Hardy played just 5 minutes, 25 seconds as he continues to recover from a foot injury.
But the Arabians found a way to win by falling back on the hallmarks of their recent postseason success — defense, a patient offense and contributions from unlikely sources.
Austin Brizendine scored all seven of his points in the first half — including a crucial 3-pointer — and Nathan Phillips — starting in place of Hardy — had all six of his points after intermission. Add in a pair of timely 3-pointers by freshman Mark Albers, and Pendleton Heights had more than enough offense to offset slow scoring nights from its stars.