The New Palestine boys basketball team hits the road this weekend, beginning with a key conference game at Shelbyville. NP is trying to solidify its hold on second place in the HHC but faces a tough Golden Bears squad. Saturday, the Dragons visit a potential sectional foe in Connersville.
NP enters the weekend 11-6 and winners of six of its last eight.
Friday: Dragons (11-6, 4-1 HHC) at Shelbyville (9-8, 3-2 HHC)
Site: Garrett Gym, Shelbyville HS (directions)
Time: F/JV 6 p.m., V 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: Dragons (11-6) at Connersville (12-7)
Site: Spartan Bowl, Connersville (directions) (NOTE: THE SPARTAN BOWL IS NOT AT CONNERSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL)
Time: JV 6 p.m., V 7:30 p.m.
Broadcast (both games):
- New Pal Radio (link to listen or click the embedded link below).
Friday at Shelbyville
SETTING THE SCENE
The Dragons return to HHC play to face Shelbyville in a matchup of two teams in the top half of the league standings. NP enters in a second-place tie, one game behind undefeated Delta, while Shelbyville is tied for fourth place with a 3-2 mark.
These teams have a history of playing close games. Eight of the last 21 have been decided by five points or less and three have gone to OT, including a 55-54 thriller won by the Dragons last season.
Guard Maximus Gizzi moved up to ninth in the NPHS career scoring list last week, passing Brett Singer (1983-86) and Dick Pruet (1960-63). Gizzi now has 865 points and needs 42 to catch Royce McDougall (917 points, 1964-67) and move into eighth place. Matthew True needs 27 points to move into the top 10.
Gizzi reached 250 career assists against Richmond. Dylan Romine reached 250 career rebounds and Dawson Eastes 400 career points.
True led the Dragons in scoring in both of last weekend’s games, tallying 15 against Perry Meridian and 17 against Richmond. Since Jan. 11, he is averaging 17.9 points per game and shooting 48.0 percent from 3-point range.
For the third straight week, forward Kyle King reached a career scoring high. He tallied 11 points against Richmond, including six in the third quarter.
Gizzi leads the HHC with 4.8 assists per game. He also ranks fifth in the conference in scoring at 16.9 ppg. True is also in the top 10 at 15.4 ppg.
The Dragons had a back-and-forth tussle with Perry Meridian last Thursday, eventually falling 59-55. True scored 15 points, Gizzi 13 and Dylan Romine 10. NP shot 48 percent for the game. Against Richmond, the Dragons took the lead in the opening quarter and never surrendered it, eventually winning 53-48. True hit 3-5 from deep and scored 11 points. Gizzi tallied 14 and King 11.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN BEARS
Shelbyville posted a big come-from-behind win over Pendleton Heights Monday, rallying from 10 down late in the third quarter to post a 67-58 victory. Zach Kuhn scored 29 points in the contest.
Kuhn is Shelbyville’s career scoring leader and ranks third in the HHC at 22.3 ppg. Josh Williams tallies 15.1 ppg. Both also average more than 4 assists/game.
Shelby has won five of its last six games, including three straight HHC games.
Saturday at Connersville
SETTING THE SCENE
The Dragons and Spartans meet for the sixth time, with the Spartans winning four of the first five. The two are potential sectional opponents. NP is 3-1 against the sectional field. Connersville is also 3-1 against sectional foes.
Connersville has won three consecutive contests in the series and four of the five overall meetings. The Spartans won a tight 65-56 game last season.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
Connersville has clinched its seventh straight double-digit win season. The Spartans have posted three consecutive 20-win years coming into this season.
Senior Noah Belt, a three-year starter, leads the Spartans with a 16.6 ppg average. He also tallies 5.1 rebounds and a team-high 3.1 assists/game. Juniors Clay Garrison (8.1 ppg, 2.4 apg) and Jacob Brown (9.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg) also lead the Spartans.
Connersville enters the week having won two straight against Marion County powers – 45-44 over North Central Jan. 26 and 41-39 over Lawrence North Feb. 2.
Connersville hosts Batesville Thursday before facing the Dragons Saturday.