By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
FRANKTON, Ind. —
Pendleton Heights junior Kiawna Cottrell was front and center in the Arabians’ 50-45 victory over the Frankton Eagles in girls basketball here Saturday night.
On one end, Cottrell was assigned to guard Frankton sharpshooter Kelsey Key.
Key ended up with a game-high 25 points, but she had to work for each shot, hitting 10-of-24 from the field, numbers that included 1-of-5 from 3-point range.
On the other end, Cottrell was the ignored player on PH’s offensive end. Frankton decided to pretend she didn’t exist. Often, when Cottrell received a pass, the nearest warm body to her was seated in the stands. Obviously the Eagles didn’t care that she shot the ball 13 times.
But the home team wasn’t in favor of Cottrell hitting six of those shots to finish with 13 points.
“She took shooting lessons this summer,” said PH coach Holly Hollinger. “Before that I’m not sure she had much confidence. I told her she could come in closer to shoot. But she did a great job trying to contain Key.”
Kenzie Gustin was the top scorer and rebounder for the Arabians. She scored 15 points and grabbed 12 boards.
Early in the second half, the Eagles were down 30-17. But halfway through the third quarter, Frankton outscored the Arabians 12-5 to announce that the game was far from over.
Katie Key hit a 3-pointer and Carleigh Tucker followed with an uncontested layup to cut the margin to 36-34 with 1:31 left in the quarter.
In the final period, Frankton had the ball several times down by one point but could never get over the top. Gustin gave Pendleton all the points it needed when she rebounded a missed shot, scored and was fouled. Her free throw made it 47-43.
Key scored Frankton’s final hoop from the baseline on the right side.
“We were trying to decide whether to try and score on one more possession or to try and hold the ball,” said Hollinger. “We decided to hold it. My senior guards (Tiffany Wertz and Meghan Dawson) did a great job with the ball.” Wertz hit a pair of free throws with 47 seconds left that ultimately put the game out of reach.
The Arabians (4-0) hit just 20 of 51 shots in the game. “We were tired (from Friday’s win at Greenfield). Our legs were gone. Some of our shots missed badly.”
Pendleton Heights is off until Friday when it plays host to Shelbyville. Frankton (1-2) plays at home that same night against Shenandoah.
Frankton coach Dean Riddle was unavailable for comment immediately following the contest.