By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
---- — PENDLETON — The Pendleton Heights girls basketball team celebrated its seniors by torturing Yorktown for 32 en route to securing at least a tie for the Hoosier Heritage Conference title here Saturday.
The Arabians galloped past the Tigers 74-36 in a game that was over eight minutes into the contest when the home team was up 27-8. Yorktown didn't pass the 27-point mark until less than four minutes remained in the contest.
The seniors being honored were Kiawna Cottrell and Taylor Siefken and both stepped up for the occasion.
Each one of the pair hit 6-of-8 from the field and grabbed four rebounds. Siefken added a free throw to finish with 13 points and Cottrell notched 12.
"I don't think this will sink in that we're finishing our senior season until it is actually over," said Siefken. "We are preparing for our next game."
The seniors had plenty of support in this game from their teammates. Freshman Sam Hammel topped all scorers with 16 points, hitting 7-of-10 field goals and both of her free throws. "Just when you think she can't get any better, she does," said PH coach Holly Hollinger.
Hammel handled the ball much of the time the Arabians were running their offense and also was active as the point of the PH 1-3-1 zone. That zone forced 21 Yorktown mistakes even without putting the full-court press into action.
Junior Morgan Landes reached double figures with 10 points and freshman Adrienne Phillips was just shy with nine.
Hammel and freshman Kelsey Burton tied for the team high in rebounds with six apiece. Four of those from Hammel came off the offensive end.
"It is really nice to see the whole team playing well together now," said Cottrell. "I'd rather be doing this now than at the beginning of the season."
Only Katy Johnson scored in double figures with 12 as the Tigers were forced into woeful 11-of-43 shooting for the game. The Arabians had no such distress, hitting 33-of-52 from the field.
"I think we are hitting our peak at just the right time," said Hollinger. "I was worried that sometimes on Senior Night, the focus is on that. But this was such an important game for us in the conference that we came in at 9 a.m. to talk about that."
The Arabians are 5-1 in conference play and 13-6 overall. They have tied Greenfield for the top spot in the HHC but Mount Vernon could join that group with a win over Delta.
Pendleton Heights has two games left on the season, Monday at Jay County and Tuesday at home against Westfield.