By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
FRANKTON, Ind. —
So much for being afraid of going into the lion’s den ... er ... The Eagles’ Nest.
Pendleton Heights got off to a rousing start in the Madison County Basketball Tournament by sweeping a pair of games on Frankton’s home court Saturday.
The PH boys had a big second quarter on their way to a 60-44 victory. The Arabians girls took advantage of Frankton taking a time out it didn’t have as Pendleton opened the evening with a 51-44 triumph.
Pendleton Heights opened the boys contest by hitting 4-of-5 shots from 3-point range to take a 16-12 lead. The biggest shooter in that spurt was junior guard Levi Buck, who hit all four of his shots in the quarter, three of them from long range.
“Levi Buck played a big part early,” said PH coach Brian Hahn. “They were playing a triangle-and-two on us and he hit some big shots to give us a lift. I thought we struggled defensively in the first quarter.”
The Eagles hit 5-of-9 shots in that opening period, getting points from four players, to stay within four. That was about to change.
The Arabians hit 4-of-6 shots from beyond the arc in the second period and came alive on defense to hold the home team to nine points to roll into halftime up 36-21.
“We rushed our shots and settled for bad shots,” said Frankton coach Brent Brobston. “They made some nice shots. We got lost and didn’t communicate.”
Frankton’s best quarter was the second when it outscored Pendleton Heights 16-12 and at one point cut the lead to six. The Eagles’ Aaron Korn hit all four of his shots in the quarter on his way to a team-high 16 points. But Nick Moore hit a big 3-pointer to help halt Frankton’s momentum.
In the final period the Eagles scored just seven points as the Arabians pulled away. Buck led all PH scorers with 16, McDermott had 14 and Kurt Talbert pitched in a dozen. Korn topped Frankton in rebounds with eight as the Eagles won the rebound battle 26-22.
The PH boys will play Elwood at Anderson on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
The girls contest went down to the wire despite the seven-point win margin.
Kenzie Gustin hit the first of two free throws in the closing seconds of the contest to give the Arabians a three-point lead. But she missed the second. Frankton’s Natalie McGuire got the rebound, but the Eagles’ bench called a timeout and the team had none. Gustin nailed both technical free throws for a five-point lead.
Frankton assistant coach Ty Riddle was given two technical fouls within seconds of one another and forced to leave the floor. Gustin hit two of her final four free throws for the final margin of victory.
“That was a great game and great game for us to play,” said Frankton coach Dean Riddle. “I thought we played hard. It’s hard for me to put it on the girls when I have an assistant coach who calls a timeout we don’t have.”
Gustin and Kiawna Cottrell both had double-doubles for the Arabians. Gustin scored 12 points and added 11 rebounds. Cottrell had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“I thought my kids responded well,” said PH coach Holly Hollinger. “In the first half we missed maybe 12 bunnies (layups). I thought we played a team in Frankton that had an excellent player (Kelsey Key), but I thought we had an excellent team.”
Key scored 22 points and her sister Katie Key scored 13, accounting for all but nine of the Eagles’ points. Kelsey Key also had a game-high 12 rebounds.
The PH girls will host Elwood on Monday at 1:30 p.m., following the Anderson vs. Alexandria semifinal at noon.