The New Palestine girls basketball team remained unbeaten Tuesday, rallying in the second half to beat New Castle 38-37 in the Dragons’ Hoosier Heritage Conference opener.
Megan Jolly scored 13 points – with eight coming in the final quarter – and Leah Seib and Katie Herron helped the Dragons dominate the glass in the victory. The inside duo combined for six points in the final quarter, in which NP outscored the hosts 14-11 and seized the victory.
The Dragons improved to 6-0 overall – the best start since 1993-94, when the Dragons began the season with eight straight wins – and 1-0 in HHC play.
The Dragons had a strong defensive effort in the victory, with Tatum Biddle and Michaela Jones limiting the HHC’s leading scorer, New Castle’s Cameron Tabor, to 14 tough points. NP then often limited the Trojans to one shot, as the Dragons outrebounded New Castle 37-24.
After trailing for most of the middle two quarters, the Dragons seized control in the fourth. Jolly hit a runner to tie the game at 26-26 on the fourth quarter’s first possession, and after a Trojan basket, she followed with a three-point play to give NP a 29-28 advantage – its first lead since the early stages of the second quarter. Seib hit a shot midway through the quarter to push the lead to three.
New Castle answered, but the key stretch came in the final four minutes. Jolly hit a runner, then fed Herron and Seib for back-to-back baskets. The NP defense forced three straight stops to push the lead to 37-30 with 2:12 left. New Castle answered with five straight points, but had to foul intentionally in the final minute. Jolly split two free throws with :25 left. Tabor answered with a hoop to cut the lead to 38-37. NP missed a free throw with nine seconds left, but the Dragons forced a miss and Seib corralled the rebound on the final possession.
Jolly was 5-for-7 from the field and also had six assists and four rebounds. Seib added nine points and 11 rebounds. Herron also had 11 boards eight points.NP had a strong start, with Jolly and Herron staking the Dragons to a 9-2 lead. NC answered with a 13-0 run to take a six-point lead. Emily Newcomb buried a 3-pointer and Seib scored the Dragons’ last five points of the half to allow NP to pull within one, at 20-19, at the break. Emma Grable scored all five of her points in a third-quarter stretch that drew the Dragons even after trailing 24-19.
The Dragons shot 35 percent from the floor at 15-of-42, and 6-of-9 from the line. New Castle was 15-of-43 and 6-of-9 from the stripe.
The New Palestine JV also won 31-26, behind Claire Cherry’s 13 points.
The Dragons return home Saturday to face Delta in a conference matchup. The JV game tips at 1 p.m.