The New Palestine girls basketball team pushed the state’s top-ranked team to the wire Saturday morning, but eventually fell 42-34 to the top-ranked Pike Red Devils in the Decatur Central regional.
Twice, after falling behind by 11 points in the second half, the Dragons (18-7) rallied to cut the deficit inside five points before Pike (25-1) was able to seal it in the final minute.
NP trailed 21-10 early in the third, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Haley Harrison and Emma Grable, followed by a driving basket by Harrison, sparked a 10-3 run that cut the deficit to 24-20.
Pike answered with seven straight points to re-take an 11-point edge, but the Dragons again rallied. Down 33-22, NP forced three turnovers in a four-possession stretch. Leah Seib hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to eight. Tatum Biddle answered by hitting one of two from the line to make it a 33-26 game.
Angel Baker hit a driving shot for Pike to push its lead back to nine, but a free throw by Katie Herron and a 3-pointer from Harrison cut the deficit to 35-30. Pike’s Michaela White hit a driving shot on the baseline to push the Red Devils’ lead back to seven, but Harrison followed with a 3-pointer to make it a 37-33 game with 1:30 left. NP forced back-to-back stops and Megan Jolly hit one of two free throws with 49 seconds left to make it a one-possession game. Pike hit 5 of 6 from the line to answer and seal the game.
Harrison led the way for the Dragons with 11 points. Jolly had five points, four assists and a career high 12 rebounds, playing all 32 minutes. She helped NP outrebound Pike 41-26. Seib had five points and five boards, as did Grable and Biddle. Herron added three points and five boards. Michaela Jones added three rebounds.
NP’s defense held Pike to 36 percent shooting. Michaela White and Mikia Keith led the Red Devils with 10 points each. Biddle and Jones drew the assignment against Miss Basketball candidate Angel Baker, and held her to eight points on 3-of-11 shooting.
The Dragons’ season ends with an 18-7 record, the most wins since 1994. The 18 victories are also tied for the second-most in school history. NP also won the fifth sectional title in school history and the first since 2004.