The 20-2 New Palestine girls basketball team heads into sectional play this week looking to defend its title and win the sixth sectional championship in school history.
The Dragons will meet Greenfield-Central in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal, with the winner moving to the 7:30 p.m. Saturday championship game.
Friday: Dragons (20-2) vs. Greenfield-Central (10-13), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: Sectional championship, 7:30 p.m.
Site: Mt. Vernon HS (directions)
Broadcast (all NPHS games):
- New Pal Radio (link to listen or click the embedded link below).
SETTING THE SCENE
The Dragons enter the Mt. Vernon sectional looking to defend their IHSAA sectional championship. NP faces a Greenfield-Central squad that advanced by beating Richmond 51-22 Tuesday. Pendleton Heights and Mt. Vernon meet in the other semifinal.
The semifinal matchups are the same as last season, when NP beat G-C 43-32 and MV 45-39 to clinch its first sectional title since 2004.
New Palestine is the Hoosier Heritage Conference champion, going 7-0 in HHC play. Against teams still alive in the sectional, the Dragons beat G-C 56-36 on Dec. 7, MV 46-40 on Dec. 11 and PH 52-40 on Jan. 11. All three were on the road.
The sectional champion moves on to the Decatur Central regional, which will be held Feb. 9. The champion from MV will face the champion from Southport in the 11:30 a.m. semifinal. Southport, Roncalli, Ben Davis and Perry Meridian are the four teams in that field. The champions of the Cathedral and Terre Haute South sectionals will play the 10 a.m. semifinal.
NP enters the tournament ranked No. 17 in the all-class IBCA poll. Mt. Vernon is receiving votes in the ICGSA Class 4A poll.
The Dragons enter the sectional having set a school record with 20 wins. The previous record was 19, set in 1992-93, when head coach Sarah Gizzi was a junior on a sectional championship Dragons squad. The Dragons also set a record this season with a 12-game winning streak. Their 10-0 record at home was the first unbeaten home season since 2003-04.
NP won its second HHC title and eighth conference title overall this season. It was the first conference title won by a Dragon team since 1994, the HHC’s first year.
The eight-person senior class is the winningest four-year in NP history, having posted a 71-23 record over four seasons, eclipsing the 66 wins set by the Class of 1994. Four members of the senior class — Haley Harrison, Katie Herron, Megan Jolly and Leah Seib — all saw varsity time as freshmen.
Seib enters the sectional off two strong games, tying her career high with 24 points in each of the last two games, an 86-48 victory over Lawrence Central and a 67-55 Senior Night win over Ritter. She also had 11 rebounds in the Lawrence Central game for the 10th double-double by a Dragon this season. It was her fifth career double-double. Jordan Reid had 18 points against Ritter.
In the victory over Lawrence Central, Jolly matched her career high with 10 assists. She is the first Dragon in at least 15 seasons to post a 10-assist game.
Seib needs 17 points to reach 900 for her career. She passed the 400 rebound mark against Ritter. Two other Dragons reached milestones in that game – Harrison tallied her 150th assist, Jolly her 200th steal and 250th rebound. Herron has eclipsed the 500-rebound mark (514). Jolly has 258 career assists.
Three Dragons finished atop the HHC leaderboards at the end of the regular season. Jolly leads the conference with 4.7 assists per game. Herron is tops on the glass at 8.5 rebounds per game. Seib leads the conference with an .846 free throw percentage. Seib is also second in field goal shooting (.575), fifth in scoring (15.2 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (6.5 rpg). Junior Jordan Reid is ninth in scoring (10.2 ppg), fifth in field-goal shooting (.466) and seventh in rebounding (6.1 rpg) Jolly ranks fifth in steals (2.6 spg) and Harrison 11th in scoring (9.8 ppg).
G-C is led by Hannah Farrell, who ranks second in the HHC at 19.9 ppg. She also is among the league leaders in assists (3.0) and rebounds (8.0).
MV brings balance led by Lexi Shelton (15.2 ppg) and Sydnee Perry (10.5 ppg)
PH also sports strong balance, led by Kailyn Graham (13.7 ppg) and Aubree Dwiggins (12.0 ppg).