By Justin Bates
For The Herald Bulletin
PENDLETON, Ind. —
Pendleton Heights rallied from a 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit but needed four extra minutes to defeat Hoosier Heritage Conference foe Mount Vernon 59-56 in overtime on Friday night in the conference opener.
Kenton Dunham led the Arabians with a game-high 20 points, two rebounds and four assists, including the game-winning shot with just under a minute left in overtime. The sophomore hit 7-of-15 field goals and all four of his free throws, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“Dunham made the big play down the stretch,” PH coach Brian Hahn said. “It was a great win, and you have to continue to compete for 32 minutes, and our kids showed great will.”
Center Caleb Hardy gave Dunham plenty of support inside, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and two steals before fouling out in overtime. Hardy hit 7-of-11 shots and all three free throws.
“Hardy made the big finish to get the game into overtime,” said Hahn of his layup in the final seconds of regulation to tie the score at 48-48. “We were really struggling bad on the offensive end and we were down 39-26 (with five minutes left) and really struggling.”
Enter Mark Albers. The freshman sparked a 10-0 run to get the Arabians back in the game, and they finally caught the Maruaders at 44-44 with two minutes remaining. Albers scored eight points and grabbed two rebounds, including a pair of 3-pointers in the final five minutes.
“Mark really provided a spark on offense and got us out of a rut,” said Hahn. “His two 3-pointers got us some confidence and put the pressure on them. Those three guys (Dunham, Hardy and Albers) made big plays down the stretch and we’re not a team with one superstar. We need a team to make plays.”
Pendleton Heights led 9-7 after the first quarter, but trailed 21-14 at the half and 34-26 after three quarters. After the Arabians tied the game at 44, the contest was also tied at 46 and again at the end of regulation for the seventh time in the contest.
The game was tied for the eighth and final time at 53 with two minutes left in overtime. After two free throws by Mount Vernon, Dunham hit his 3-pointer with just under a minute remaining. The teams traded free throws before Levi Buck nailed two to finish off the scoring. The Marauders desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Mount Vernon had a 31-24 advantage on the boards, including 10-5 on the offensive glass. Both teams finished with 24 points in the paint and 13 assists, but the Arabians had the edge in turnovers (6-12), points off turnovers (8-6) and steals (5-4).
Pendleton Heights (2-1, 1-0 HHC) hosts Connersville tonight at 7:30 p.m.