The New Palestine boys basketball team staged a furious second-half comeback Saturday, but an attempt to tie at the buzzer just missed in a 69-66 loss to Franklin Central.
NP trailed by double digits most of the game, including trailing 55-36 going into the final quarter. The Dragons put up a 30-point fourth quarter to cut the Flashes’ lead, finally getting a shot at the buzzer. NP trailed 20-8 after a quarter and, despite an 11-0 second-quarter run, 40-24 at the break.
Gavin Hausz started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and Maximus Gizzi and Maxen Hook followed with hoops, launching a 13-0 run that cut the deficit to 55-49. Dawson Eastes scored the next six points for the Dragons – including a basket and a 3-pointer – before FC could answer.
The teams traded baskets from there. Matthew True was fouled on a 3-pointer and hit all three shots, and then drilled one from beyond the arc. NP trailed 64-57 after the first of Maximus Gizzi’s three straight baskets for the Dragons. His 3-pointer cut the deficit to 67-64. Dylan Romine hit a shot to cut the deficit again to a one-possession game. NP had a look at the buzzer that fell off.
Eastes led the Dragons with a career-high 15 points, scoring nine in the first half and keying the fourth-quarter rally with six points. Gizzi scored 13 second-half points – including 11 in the fourth quarter. Hausz added a season-high 11 points. Maxen Hook also tallied a career high with nine points. True and Kyle King scored six each. Romine had four points and Jack Walker two.
The Dragons (4-3) next play Dec. 29 at the Tri-West Tournament. The Dragons will open play at noon against Beech Grove, with Tri-West and Decatur Central playing in the other semifinal at 10 a.m.