Boys Varsity Basketball · Weekend hoops preview: Dragons vs. Shelbyville/Connersville

Friday: Shelbyville Golden Bears (14-5, 4-1 HHC) at New Palestine Dragons (10-7, 3-2 HHC)
Monday: Connersville Spartans (15-4) at New Palestine Dragons (10-7)

Note: The game vs. Connersville was moved from Saturday to Monday due to New Palestine’s participation in the girls basketball regional.  

Click here for the game notes

Game preview

The New Palestine boys basketball team returns to action to complete a four-game homestand this weekend. The Dragons return to HHC play Friday with a game against Shelbyville, then take on potential sectional foe Connersville Monday.

The Dragons enter the weekend in a fourth-place tie in the HHC with a 3-2 mark. Friday’s game will be key in the conference standings, as second-place Shelbyville is one game ahead of the Dragons at 4-1.

NP has played strong basketball in 2018, having gone 6-2 since the calendar turned. Two big reasons why are defense and shooting. NP is 10-1 when holding teams to 50 or fewer points, while the Dragons have hit 10 or more 3-pointers in five of their last eight games, winning all five.

Last week, the Dragons were just 5-of-19 from deep in a loss to Pendleton Heights.

Junior guard Matthew True led the way with 17 points. Senior Gavin Hausz continued his strong 2018 with a 12-point game. Sophomore forward Dawson Eastes contributed eight points and six rebounds. Sophomore guard Maxen Hook had five boards and five assists. Hook has emerged as a point guard for the Dragons, stepping in for classmate Maximus Gizzi, who has been out since Jan. 6 due to injury. Hook is averaging 6.0 assists per game over the last five games. True is averaging 18.3 points over his last four games. Hausz has also picked up the scoring load, averaging 13.8 ppg since the new year.

Weekend foes

Shelbyville comes in 14-5 and having won three straight. The Golden Bears have also won eight of their last nine. Zach Kuhn leads the Golden Bear attack, tallying 19.9 ppg and 8.8 rpg, third in the HHC. He scored 33 in the Bears’ 87-72 win over Plainfield last Saturday. Kuhn is also third in the HHC in assists (3.9) and fourth in steals (1.9). Sam Lewis averages 12.3 ppg. Josh Williams is a double-figure scorer and averages 6.5 rebounds per game.

Monday’s foe, Connersville, is the fourth potential sectional opponent on the Dragons’ schedule. NP is 2-1 against the sectional, having beaten Richmond and Greenfield-Central and fallen to Pendleton Heights. Senior Garrett Silcott averages 15.9 ppg and 5.3 rpg for the Spartans. Junior Noah belt tallies 11.2 ppg.

Looking ahead

The Dragons finish conference play Feb. 16 at Mt. Vernon, then return home Feb. 17 to face Whiteland on Senior Night. Senior player Gavin Hausz and the senior managers will be honored that evening.

HHC leaders

Sophomore guard Maximus Gizzi ranks among the HHC leaders in several categories. He is second in the HHC in assists (5.2). He is also fifth in the conference in scoring (16.5) and steals (1.7) and fifth in FT percentage (.788). Sophomore Dawson Eastes is second (.471) AND junior Matthew True third (.465) in 3-point percentage.

Dragons online

Listen LIVE to all New Palestine home games, as well as selected road games, on New Pal Radio. Find the broadcasts by searching New Pal Radio on or on the TuneIn mobile app.