The New Palestine boys basketball got off to a strong start – especially on the defensive end – and carried it throughout the night Tuesday in a 60-45 sectional-opening win over Greenfield-Central.
The Dragons used balanced scoring to improve to 15-8 on the season and earn a spot in Friday’s semifinal game. The Dragons will face Connersville at 6 p.m. Friday at Richmond’s Tiernan Center. Richmond, which beat Pendleton Heights 48-45 in Tuesday’s other game, will face Mt. Vernon in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal.
After surrendering the first basket, the Dragons took a 12-4 lead after a quarter, with Maximus Gizzi hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Dragons a 6-2 edge. Eric Roudebush, Jack Walker and Dylan Romine each hit hoops to push the lead to eight. Dawson Eastes scored seven second-quarter points and Matthew True five to key a period in which the Dragons built leads of 18-9, 22-11 and 28-16.
Kyle King had a big third quarter on the glass to key a 6-0 run to start the second half. He had two putbacks and his defensive rebound set up Romine for a transition jumper to push the lead to 34-18. King stayed active on the glass, scoring eight third-quarter points – all on putbacks – to help the Dragons go up 44-27 after three. NP then began the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run – keyed by Eastes’ four points and Maxen Hook on the glass and in transition – to push the edge to 55-27 before a late G-C surge cut the lead to 15.
Gizzi and Eastes led the way with 11 points each. True and King each tallied eight. Romine scored seven points. Hook and Roudebush scored five each. Walker tallied four points, while Luke Ramsey scored one.
The Dragons held G-C’s leading scorer on the season to two points. The Cougars were led by Caleb McIntire, who tallied 11 points off the bench.
The Dragons clinched their second straight 15-win season, the first time NP has done so since 2012-13 and the fourth time in school history (1984-86 and 1957-59). .