The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Sports

March 4, 2013

George Bremer: A tale of two champions

Madison County’s last two boys basketball teams standing don’t share much in common.

Liberty Christian likes to run the floor, averages more than 70 points per game and is likely to thrill the home crowd at least once per night with a highlight-reel dunk or ally-oop.

Pendleton Heights moves at a more methodical pace, allows just more than 43 points per game and is happiest when its closing out games at the free-throw line.

But the teams do share one important thing in common: They’ve figured out how to win when it counts.

Liberty Christian (19-5) is playing in a regional for the second straight season after eight years of IHSAA membership without a sectional crown. Just two years ago the Lions lost 16 games, and they allowed roughly 70 points per contest in each of the previous two seasons.

But this year, led by the area’s most underrated player in sophomore point guard Chris Nunn, Liberty Christian has cut more than 11 points off its defensive average and played well under the weight of expectations for the first time.

The Lions’ 19 victories already are a record for the school’s IHSAA era, and the team still is young enough to suggest the best might be yet to come.

This season at Pendleton Heights, on the other hand, was all about proving it already has staying power.

The Arabians (15-9) lost four starters from last year’s 23-3 team and were left for dead by some after a 1-3 start. Rallying around the same defensive principles its held for years under head coach Brian Hahn, however, Pendleton Heights improved with each game.

The team stunned North Central in the regular-season finale, then survived a double-overtime thriller against underdog Connersville in the sectional opener. A pair of impressive victories over North Central Conference stalwarts Richmond and New Castle then provided the team with momentum into the regional round.

The Arabians will lose three more starters — seniors Brogan Gary, Kurt Talbert and Peyton McCardwell — from this year’s team. And, yet, the program appears to be in good hands.

It was easy to see the Lions coming. They started the season ranked No. 10 in Class A and received votes in the poll for most of the year.

Even with a gigantic target on its back after last year’s historic sectional title, Liberty Christian outlasted Southern Wells 83-79 in overtime to repeat as tournament champs.

The immediate road ahead is tough. The Lions first face a rematch against Union (Modoc)(17-5), whom they defeated 75-64 on Dec. 18, and then likely would face top-ranked Rockville (25-0) in a reprise of last year’s regional title game.

Pendleton Heights has a date with Cathedral (22-5), which started the year atop the 4A polls, and defending state runner-up Pike (22-3) sits on the other side of the regional bracket.

Liberty Christian was expected to reach this point for months. The Arabians were not.

So why should either team care what’s expected of it now?

That’s the beauty of March.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Eagles stop Lions to claim third place Frankton's Tia Sharp drove in three runs including the game-winner in the bottom of the sixth as the Eagles defeated Liberty Christian 11-1 here Saturday.

    April 19, 2014

  • PH pushes across only run in 7th

    After Frankton's Kyleigh Garner and Pendleton Heights' Bailey Benefiel battled one another to a standstill from the pitcher's circle for six innings, it took one mistake in the seventh to decide the outcome.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT - HB0419 - County track - 116 Arabians sweep track titles again Beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures greeted the competitors at the Madison County track meet Friday at Madison-Grant. The Pendleton Heights boys and girls teams were looking to take the county for the third year in a row, but Anderson and Lapel had other ideas. It started off as a record-setting meet and finished with a bang as Pendleton was able to wrap up both titles. The girls held off a stiff challenge from Lapel to win 167.5-147, and the boys took the final event of the night to squeak out a 156.5-148.5 win over Lapel.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Arabians clip Eagles, go for Muller repeat The competitive feeling at Pendleton Height’s Bill Stoudt Field quickly faded Friday during the semifinals of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament. The Arabians once again took advantage of the opposing team’s generosity as Frankton pitchers gave up six walks and hit five batters, and Pendleton Heights took the 14-3 victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Arabians win County net title with 5-0 shutout

    An intriguing battle awaited and there was no indication what the team scores would be. Considering the Frankton Eagles had home court advantage, the Pendleton Heights Lady Arabians came hungry for the Madison County tennis title. Pendleton aced a 5-0 win and came away with the crown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Indians scratch back into Muller final A young and inexperienced Anderson team again proved its mettle Friday in the semifinals of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament. The Indians (2-3), playing without several expected starters to open the season, clawed out a 10-6 victory against Lapel (2-2) at Memorial Field to advance to the championship game for the 10th time.

    April 18, 2014

  • Elwood rolls past Liberty Christian While most people were aware that Elwood had 22 hits, 19 runs, 11 extra base hits and four home runs, most failed to notice that pitcher Tenasha Stephens tossed a no-hitter in the process.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pendleton Heights, Frankton to meet for net title

    Pendleton Heights and Frankton advanced to today's Madison County Championship title match after posting very different victories. The Lady Arabian tennis team advanced after defeating the Alexandria Tigers 4-1. For Frankton, it came down to a No. 1 singles tie-breaker to put away Lapel.

    April 18, 2014

  • SPT - HB0418 - PHHS vs Alex - 017 Arabians hold off Alex to reach semifinals Good teams don't need much help. That didn't stop Pendleton Heights from accepting a little aid from Alexandria in the second round of the Nick Muller Memorial Baseball Tournament on Thursday.

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Panthers claw way into softball semis If only Elwood's Jessie Noone had missed the team bus, Thursday's game in the Madison County Softball Tournament would have been more competitive.

    April 17, 2014