INDIANAPOLIS — With conference play behind the Pendleton Heights Arabians, it is time to look forward to tournament action. And what better way to prepare for postseason play than to schedule one of the top teams in the state.
Tuesday night the Arabians battled Class 4A No. 9 North Central Panthers, and Pendleton Heights fell 39-34.
It is not always about wins and losses during the regular season for Indiana high school basketball teams. While coaches and players all want to leave the gym with a victory, it is also important to improve with each game played.
“This type of team prepares us for what the sectional is going to be like,” Pendleton Heights coach Brian Hahn said. “The key is we have to learn from it. We didn’t play with poise at the end so now we need to learn what we did wrong, what we need to do different and carry that with us as we head towards the tournament.”
It was clear from the onset that despite the Panthers averaging 68.35, 38th best in Indiana, it was defense that would be the difference maker.
And, the Arabians defense had a chance to come up with a big play with the North Central up 36-34 with 19.4 seconds to play.
Pendleton Heights had just taken the lead when Austin Brizendine found Nathan Phillips for a 2-point layup. North Central had trouble getting the ball in and was forced to make a bad pass instead of getting the five-second call. The pass was muffed, but the Arabians failed to capitalize as the ball ricocheted out of bounds of the green and white.
“We get a great steal, turnover, right under the basket and I have two kids that don’t grab the ball,” Hahn said. “They are in a hurry to make a layup instead of just securing the ball. We didn’t play with any poise.”