Girls Varsity Basketball · Girls basketball sectional weekend preview

Class 4A Connersville sectional

Semifinal: New Palestine Dragons (16-6) vs. Greenfield-C. Cougars (10-12)
Time: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2

Winner advances to final vs. Mt. Vernon (10-12) or Pendleton Heights (16-8)
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3

Site: Spartan Bowl, Connersville (directions)
Admission: $6/session, $10/season
Broadcast: New Pal Radio (click the link to listen. Also, click here for more links & archives)

Click here for the game notes

Game preview

The New Palestine Dragons enter championship weekend at the Connersville sectional amidst a number of familiar foes.

The four teams remaining comprise the top four teams in the Hoosier Heritage Conference standings.

After posting their third straight 15-win season, the Dragons advanced to the championship weekend with a 53-32 Tuesday victory over Connersville, one punctuated by strong defense and big runs.

Greenfield-Central will be playing its first sectional game after drawing a bye. Mt. Vernon, which also drew a bye, faces Pendleton Heights – a 59-49 Tuesday winner over Richmond – in the other semifinal. NP is seeking its fifth sectional title and first in 14 years.

The Dragons advanced with an emphatic win Tuesday, one that was sparked by a 7-0 run to close the first half and give NP an 11-point lead, and keyed by 13-0 and 15-0 runs in the second half that put the game away.

Haley Harrison hit five 3-pointers and tied her career high with 18 points. Three of those triples all came after Connersville had cut the lead to four. Leah Seib continued her recent strong play with 13 points. She had finished the regular season with back-to-back 20-point games. Guard Megan Jolly had seven assists and seven rebounds, while forward Katie Herron had seven points and six boards. The Dragons had an outstanding 16 assists to just eight turnovers in the contest.

The field

The Dragons face a Greenfield-Central team Friday that is red hot, winning four straight. NP won the regular season meeting 42-31 behind Megan Jolly’s 13 points. G-C is led by Hannah Farrell (14.4 ppg, 3.5 apg) and Katie Real (10.4 ppg).

In Friday’s other semifinal, Pendleton Heights is 16-8 after Tuesday’s win. Lauren Landes (10.6 ppg) and Kailyn Graham (10.3 ppg) lead a balanced attack. Mt. Vernon is 10-12. Senior Sophie Williams (10.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg) keys a young Marauder squad.

Sectional schedule

Tuesday, Jan. 30
Pendleton Heights 59, Richmond 49
New Palestine 53, Connersville 32

Friday, Feb. 2
6 p.m.: Mt. Vernon vs. Richmond
7:30 p.m.: Greenfield-C. vs. New Palestine

Saturday, Feb. 3
7:30 p.m.: Championship

The winner faces the winner of the Perry Meridian sectional in next Saturday’s Decatur Central regional.

Winning mark

New Palestine has clinched its third consecutive winning season, after going 17-7 and 16-7 the last two years. The last time NP had three straight winning seasons was 1998-99, when the Dragons had eight straight winning years. The last time NP had three straight 15-win seasons was 1991-94, when coach Allen Cooper’s teams went 15-6, 19-3 and 18-2, led by current head coach Sarah Gizzi.

HHC leaders

Leah Seib finished the regular season atop the HHC in rebounding (6.8) and FT percentage (86.4). She was also fourth in scoring (14.3) and fifth in FG percentage (50.7). Megan Jolly was 10th in scoring (10.0), third in assists (3.1) and fifth in steals (2.4). Haley Harrison was fourth in 3-point shooting (32.7).