With the Hoosier Heritage Conference title on the line, the New Palestine and Pendleton Heights girls basketball teams continued to have an answer for each other down the stretch Thursday night.
When PH’s Aubree Dwiggins hit a 3-pointer to give the Arabians the lead in the final minute, NP’s Leah Seib answered with a spinning layup with 25 seconds left to re-take the lead for the Dragons. In the final seconds, Dwiggins drove the lane and hit a runner. Seib took the same shot, but it hit the rim twice and looked to be going down, but then fell off, giving the Arabians a 44-43 victory over NP and at least a share of the HHC title.
The Dragons fall to 13-6 on the season and finish conference play 5-2. NP will finish second or third in the HHC, depending on the outcome of games in the final week.
NP trailed 24-19 at halftime, but started the second half on an 11-3 run that was fueled by balance – back-to-back baskets by Megan Jolly and Seib, followed by a basket by Katie Herron, while the Dragons forced turnovers on PH’s first four possessions. Haley Harrison hit a basket and a 3-pointer to put the Dragons up 30-27 with 3:23 left in the third. PH answered with four straight points to re-take the lead, but NP responded and eventually took a 35-33 lead after three on Emily Newcomb’s 3-pointer just ahead of the buzzer.
In the fourth, the teams traded baskets – Laikyn Conner hit three straight shots for PH, answered by hoops by Eliza Adams and Herron, leaving the game at 39-all with five minutes left. After a PH turnover, Newcomb hit a shot to give the Dragons a 41-39 edge with four minutes left. The score stayed there until the final minute – NP forced two misses and two turnovers by PH in that stretch, while the Dragons had two misses, a turnover and a missed free throw, setting the stage for the final minute.
Seib led a balanced Dragon attack with nine points. Newcomb and Harrison scored eight each – Newcomb was 3-of-6 from the floor, Harrison 3-of-7, including two 3-pointers. Harrison also had three rebounds. Katie Herron also scored eight points and had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Tatum Biddle had four points, three assists and two steals. Jolly added four points, six rebounds and three assists. Adams added two points and two rebounds.
The Dragons shot 38 percent – 19-of-50 – from the floor, including 47 percent in the second half, but were just 2-for-5 from the line. PH shot 52 percent, hitting 18-of-34, including 9-of-16 in the second half. The Dragons won the rebound battle 28-26 and had only seven turnovers to PH’s 12.
NP won the JV game 41-39 in overtime.
The Dragons next play Wednesday at Lawrence Central.