Boys Varsity Basketball · Dragon hoops preview: Saturday vs. Shenandoah


The Dragon boys basketball team hosts Shenandoah Saturday night in a rescheduled game. Friday night, the Dragon girls basketball team takes center stage as it hosts Whiteland in a 6 p.m. JV / 7:30 p.m. varsity tipoff. Saturday, the boys play their third consecutive home game.

Saturday: Dragons (3-1) vs. 2A No. 4 Shenandoah (5-0)
Site: NPHS
Time: JV 6 p.m., V 7:30 p.m.
Promotion: Future Stars night. All elementary basketball players will be admitted free.

Broadcast: 

  • New Pal Radio (both games) (link to listen or click the embedded link below).

Game notes (click for media notes)

SETTING THE SCENE

The Dragons and Raiders meet up in NP’s first game against a ranked team this season, and the Dragons’ final game before the holiday break.

This is the third game in the current series, with the road team winning each one. NP won 55-41 a year ago at Shenandoah, while Shenandoah won 66-50 in 2016-17 at NP.

This game was originally scheduled for Nov. 30, but moved due to the Dragons’ football state championship.

Shenandoah is the lone Class 2A school and lone Mid-Eastern Conference program on the Dragons’ schedule this season.

DRAGONS NOTES

The Dragons put together two strong performances last weekend to beat New Castle and Franklin Central, the first back-to-back victories over both teams since 2014. The Dragons’ 84-59 victory over New Castle marked the team’s most points since beating Shelbyville 96-81 Feb. 6, 2014.

Against New Castle, the Dragons shot 65 percent, hitting 30 of their 46 field goal attempts. NP hit 10 of 18 from 3-point range in the victory, with four players scoring in double figures. Dawson Eastes tallied his second straight 20-point game with 25 points, hitting 8-8 from the floor and 6-6 from the line. Maximus Gizzi added 21 points, five boards and eight assists. Matthew True hit 6-7 from the floor, including 4-5 from deep, to score 17 points. Dylan Romine added 14 points. The Dragons’ defense held high-scoring NC to 36 percent shooting (18-50) and outrebounded the Trojans 29-18.

The Dragons rallied from an 11-point deficit in the third quarter to beat Franklin Central 67-63 Saturday. NP trailed 45-34 before climbing back in, finally taking a lead at 62-61 in the final two minutes. Gizzi hit 15-18 from the line to score 26 points – one shy of his career high. He also had five rebounds, six assists and four steals. True tallied 20 points and four boards. Eastes added seven points and 10 rebounds. It was Eastes’ second 10-rebound game in three outings.

Gizzi and Eastes (Friday) and Gizzi and True (Saturday) were the first pairs of Dragons to score 20+ points in the same game since Jalen Qualkinbush and True on Feb. 28, 2017 against Marshall.

Gizzi ranks third in the HHC in scoring (22.5 ppg). He leads the HHC in assists (5.5) and is sixth in rebounding (6.0). True is eighth in the HHC in scoring (16.5) and third in 3-point shooting (.522). Eastes ranks second in the conference in rebounding (9.0). Maxen Hook is eighth in the HHC with 5.5 rebounds per game.

SCOUTING THE RAIDERS

Shenandoah has won back-to-back sectional championships under the tutelage of veteran coach Dave McCullough, who came to Middletown in 2015 after 20 years at Noblesville.

Prior to facing the Dragons, the Raiders travel to Anderson for a Friday night encounter. This weekend’s games comprise two of the three 4A foes on the Raiders’ schedule. They will face Mt. Vernon Jan. 31.

Shenandoah beat Northeastern 63-53 in the team’s lone game last weekend. Senior Evan Coers tallied 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Andrew Bennett tallied nine points and eight assists from the guard position. Sophomore Kaeden McCullough had nine points and six rebounds.

Five Raiders average in double-figures, with Bennett leading the way at 14.8 ppg. The sophomore also averages 6.4 assists per game. Jakeb Kinsey (13.0 ppg), Peyton Starks (12.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg), Coers (11.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and McCullough (10.0 ppg) also lead a balanced Raiders attack.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Dragons’ next game will be Friday, Dec. 28 at the Decatur Central Tournament. NP will face Beech Grove at noon in the opening round. The second game will be at 2:30 p.m. against either Decatur Central or Tri-West. After a Jan. 4 trip to Delta, the Dragons’ next home game is Jan. 5 against Southport.