NEW PALESTINE -- Pendleton Heights' boys basketball team had its guns blazing at the outset of Friday night's contest at New Palestine.
As the game progressed, the Arabians found themselves staring at full-blown Howitzer cannons.
PH made its first five 3-point attempts, led by 14 and had 24 on the board in the first 6 1/2 minutes. But the Arabians couldn't keep up that exhaustive pace, and the bigger and more physical Dragons slayed PH 76-61.
The Arabians fell to 5-7 overall and 1-1 in the Hoosier Heritage Conference on a Coaches vs. Cancer night that hit home with both schools.
In the opener of the doubleheader, the PH girls overcame an 11-point deficit but couldn't finish and fell 55-53 in overtime.
PH boys assistant Pete Gorga has been diagnosed with leukemia, and he was on the bench after undergoing a seven-hour treatment Thursday.
"Our kids really rallied behind him, and I think they came out motivated to play hard for him," PH coach Kevin Bates said.
The Arabians jumped ahead 16-4 on Davrick Black's second triple, 3 1/2 minutes into the game. A trey by Tristan Ross at the midpoint of the opening period made it 19-7. Jamison Dunham made two treys, and Black added another bomb later in the quarter.
PH's advantage peaked at 24-11, with 90 seconds to go in the quarter.
After shooting 8-of-12 in the first period, New Pal's defense began to put the clamps on the Arabians, and PH in the second quarter went just 2-of-9. The Dragons (4-9, 3-1 HHC) took the lead and were up 35-31 at halftime.
It was New Pal burning the cords after the break, led by Maximus Gizzi and his three triples and 13 third-quarter points.
The Dragons stormed ahead by 10 near the end of the third, and they went inside to 6-foot-5 Dawson Eastes, who put four baskets home in the final period and made this a runaway.
Gizzi, who last week became New Pal's all-time leading scorer, had 24 points. He also became the school's career leader in steals and assists during Friday's game.
"I told our kids this would be the most physical team we've played to date, and New Pal proved that tonight," Bates said. "You've got to throw out their record. They've played the 12th-toughest schedule in the state, and they played really good basketball tonight."
Dunham finished with 19 points. Black had 16 and Ross 15 for PH.
A six-deep Arabian girls squad affected by illness soldiered through 36 minutes, forcing extra time after a fourth quarter that saw the lead change hands six times.
PH (8-9) fell behind 33-22 at the half after it was tied at 16 through one quarter. A switch from man-to-man to zone helped the Arabians get to within 39-36 going into the fourth quarter.
Aubree Dwiggins put PH ahead for the first time, at 40-39, by making two free throws with 7:09 to go. Dwiggins led all scorers with 20 points and made all 10 of her foul shots (she's shooting 78 percent at the line for the season).
A 3-pointer by sixth-man Morgan Martin with 50 seconds left knotted it at 51. Martin had just come in for Kylea Lloyd, who fouled out.
The energy PH had in the second half wasn't there in the OT. The Arabians turned it over five times and attempted only three shots, one by Megan Mills in the lane in the final seconds that would have tied it.
"It was real big for all our girls to keep going, being in foul trouble and dealing with Kylea not feeling well," Arabians' coach Chad Cook said. "Everybody did their part. I told the girls in the locker room how everybody fought with that deficit and put everything they had into it, and I can't fault their effort."
Mills ended with 15 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Kylie Davis contributed 11 points. PH shot 40.4 percent (19-of-47) and made 14 of 16 free throws.
The Arabians finished HHC play 4-3 and are currently third, behind Mount Vernon (3-0) and New Pal (6-1).
Both PH teams play Saturday, the girls at Rushville and the boys at HHC rival Shelbyville.