YORKTOWN — Pendleton Heights couldn't keep rival Yorktown from prowling the paint Friday night, and as a result the Arabians no longer control the Hoosier Heritage Conference championship race.
The host Tigers shot 56.5 percent from the floor, outrebounded Pendleton Heights 29-17 and walked away with a 69-61 overtime victory that snapped a six-game winning streak for the visitors. A win would have given the Arabians (11-4, 5-1 HHC) their second league title in the past three years.
Now it's Yorktown (9-2, 4-0) that can clinch the crown with wins at Shelbyville and at home against Mount Vernon down the stretch.
"We're very disappointed," Pendleton Heights coach Brian Hahn said. "We had a chance to win it. We just got dominated in the lane."
Yorktown forwards Riley Neal and Jacob Preston combined for 36 points and 15 rebounds to lead the charge. Preston scored 10 of his 18 points in the first half, and Neal had 14 of his 18 in the final two quarters and overtime.
Neal's layup to open the extra period gave the Tigers their first lead since the opening minute of the third quarter and started a 9-0 run. The spurt was similar to the 9-2 string that Yorktown used to open the game.
But Hahn said the scoring runs were simply the product of easy looks being allowed by the Arabians' defense.
"The runs didn't beat us," he said. "The lack of defense in the paint beat us. They got 50 to 55 points in the lane. Anytime you give up 50 points in the lane, you don't deserve to win."
The Tigers made just two 3-pointers, getting the majority of their other 24 field goals in and around the paint. Even when baskets didn't come directly in the lane, the opportunities often led to points.
Yorktown was 15-of-21 from the free-throw line, dwarfing the Arabians' 7-for-7 performance at the stripe.