The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports

December 4, 2010

Arabians fall to Royals

PENDLETON, Ind. — After battling back to tie the game at 49-49, Pendleton Heights was outscored 13-8 down the stretch to lose a 62-57 decision in boys basketball to the Hamilton Southeastern Royals here Saturday night.

The Royals, ranked No. 6 in 4A in the most recent AP prep poll, pounded the unranked Arabians on the boards for much of the game. Losing that battle, or at least the way they lost it in the first half, was when the contest was ultimately decided.

“We didn’t fight (on the boards) in the first half,” said PH coach Brian Hahn. “We stressed it and stressed it and stressed it and stressed it and stressed it. We got outrebounded in the first half 24-8. We did better in the second half and we actually outscored them.” The Arabians outpointed HSE 35-32 over the final 16 minutes.

A drive to the hoop by Kendall Waters tied the game at 49 and sent the home crowd into standing ovation. The Royals quieted the throng by scoring the next five points and the Arabians could never quite catch up after that.

Pendleton was down 60-54 in the game’s final seconds when Waters drove and scored the last of his game-high 26 points. Brogan Gary stole in Royals in-bounds pass and was fouled. He hit the first free throw. Still trailing by three with 2.3 seconds left, the only sensible strategy was for him to intentionally miss the second free throw.

“We needed him to miss it but he had to miss it so we could get a long rebound around the 3-point line,” explained Hahn. But Gary’s free throw slammed off the center of the backboard and didn’t touch the rim, which is a rules violation.

Hamilton Southeastern attempted to get the ball inbounds, but Waters was called for holding Jacobby Bledsoe before the ball was passed. Bledsoe hit both free throws to seal the verdict.

Gary Harris, Southeastern’s 6-foot-4 junior guard, scored 24 points, six coming in the fourth quarter.

“He’s a special player,” said Hahn. “There’s a reason why every school in the country is after him. He made some huge shots down the stretch, give him credit, but he didn’t beat us.

“To beat a team as good as they are, you have to do the little things well. We’ve got to be more physical and we’ve got to improve.”

PH’s own 6-4 junior, Kellen Dunham, gave a good account for himself as well.  He was 4-of-10 from 3-point range and 3-of-7 from inside the arc on his way to 18 points. The rest of the team scored just 13 points, taking 10 shots and hitting half of them. The Royals had more balanced scoring with four players getting between six and eight points.

The Royals still owned the boards overall 41-20 with Randy Gregory topped them with 10 rebounds.  Ryan Albers did yeoman’s work on the glass for PH, pulling down six caroms despite being saddled with foul problems.

Pendleton Heights drops to 3-1 with the defeat going into its next game Friday at Mount Vernon.

“We go into the season wanting to win three championships and we didn’t lose any of those tonight,” said Hahn. “We just need to get better.”

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