Tough Start: Marauders fall short against rival Arabians in conference opener

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Mt. Vernon’s Madison Swingle (41) puts up a 3-pointer over Pendleton Heights’ Whitney Warfel (33) during their game at Mt. Vernon High School on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. (Rob Baker/Daily Reporter)

By Rick Teverbaugh/For Daily Reporter

FORTVILLE — Pendleton Heights hopped out to a 15-4 lead and limited Mt. Vernon to just nine points in the first half on its way to a key 47-36 girls basketball win over the defending Hoosier Heritage Conference champion Marauders on Saturday afternoon.

The visiting PH Arabians moved to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the HHC, while the Marauders fell to 4-3 overall and lost their first conference contest of the season.

“This was big for us,” said Arabians coach Chad Cook. “It’s always difficult to win here. They are the reigning conference champs and sectional champs and the sectional will be played here.”

In that opening period, Pendleton Heights notched seven points from Abi Rosenkrans and five more from Morgan Martin, each of them hitting a 3-pointer. Both players got more points than the four the home team managed as the Marauders had eight turnovers against an insistent PH defense.

“We did a good job of rotating and getting our hands out and getting deflections,” said Cook. “Sometimes you spend so much energy on defense that it takes something out of your offense. This wasn’t our sharpest game offensively, but I am proud of our defense.”

The two teams battled to a 32-32 standoff over the final three quarters, but the Arabians maintained control throughout and their lead was 15 points for much of the contest.

“Pendleton played a good game and we struggled with turnovers and foul trouble,” Mt. Vernon head coach Julie Shelton said. “There are two areas that we must improve.”

Neither team shot the ball well. The Arabians hit 12 of 39 from the field compared to MV’s 12 of 35. But what tipped the scales were fouls and turnovers.

Mt. Vernon had 25 miscues to 19 for Pendleton Heights. The Marauders were in foul trouble early and with seven minutes to play, they were already missing a pair of starters, Ellery Minch and Khloe Patterson via the foul route.

That meant PH shot 29 free throws compared to 15 attempts by the Marauders. The entire 11-point win margin came at the free-throw line.

The Arabians put three players in double digit scoring. Martin and Whitney Warfel each scored 13. Warfel got eight of those in the third quarter to allow the visitors to protect the lead. Rosenkrans scored 11 and led all players with eight rebounds. The Arabians were not at full strength as Kylea Lloyd is still recovering from an injury.

Mt. Vernon struggled to get the offense moving. The team’s 15-point fourth quarter was the most potent period of the game. Much of that came from senior Madison Swingle, who collected eight of her team-high 13 points then.

Nobody else reached double figures in scoring. Minch and Shay Shipley each contributed seven. Patterson collected seven rebounds before her exit. The two teams battled to a 31-31 standoff on the boards.

Mt. Vernon next visits Anderson today. Pendleton Heights returns to action that same evening, hosting Hamilton Southeastern.

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