The New Palestine boys basketball team took an early second-quarter lead, but succumbed to a pair of Connersville runs in the middle quarters Monday in a 65-56 loss to the Spartans.
Senior Gavin Hausz scored 22 points – his season high – to lead the Dragons, who fell to 11-8 on the season. Connersville, a potential sectional opponent for the Dragons, improved to 17-4.
After falling behind early, NP finished the first quarter with a 3-point shooting barrage led by Hausz. He hit three 3-pointers, followed by triples from Maxen Hook and Dawson Eastes, to cut an early seven-point Connersville lead to two, 20-18, at the break.
NP then opened the second quarter on a 10-0 run, with Eastes scoring five points, Jack Walker scoring a basket and Matthew True hitting a 3-pointer. The run gave the Dragons a 28-20 edge over the Spartans, but Connersville responded with nine straight points – led by Clay Garrison’s four off the bench – and the teams went into halftime tied at 29.
Connersville’s decisive run came in the third quarter. With the teams tied at 33-all, the Spartans outscored NP 11-3 over the final stretch of the quarter, with Wes Smith scoring twice inside and Jacob Brown’s tip-in at the buzzer giving the Spartans a 44-36 edge. Connersville pushed the lead as high as 14, at 60-46, before NP’s defense led a late run. Hook had three straight steals late to help draw the Dragons closer. Hausz scored eight fourth-quarter points and Dylan Romine seven.
In addition to Hausz’s 22 points, True scored 12. Eastes added nine points and Romine eight. Hook scored three and Walker two.
Garrett Silcott led Connersville with 17 points, scoring nine in the opening quarter. Garrison added 11, tallying seven in the fourth quarter.
The Dragons next play Friday at Mt. Vernon, opening up the final double-weekend of the year. NP returns home Saturday to face Whiteland.
The Dragon JV dropped a 40-37 decision. Austin Howell led NP with 13 points.