The New Palestine boys basketball team used a 15-point run in the third quarter to seize control of Saturday’s game – and seize a sectional title.
The Dragons beat Mt. Vernon 61-43 Saturday at Richmond’s Tiernan Center to win the school’s eighth sectional championship and first since 2012.
The Dragons (17-8) advance to play in the March 9 Southport regional. NP will face Avon (15-9) in the 10 a.m. semifinal. The winner will face either Ben Davis (17-7) or Lawrence Central (22-3) in the 8 p.m. championship game.
Dylan Romine and Dawson Eastes had huge games for the Dragons, combining for 42 points in the victory. Romine hit five 3-pointers en route to 23 points, including 11 in the third quarter. His back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers, followed by two free throws to start the fourth, gave the Dragons a 39-24 lead. The Dragons extended the edge to 20, at 55-35. Eastes scored 19 points, including 12 in the second half. He tallied eight fourth-quarter points to help the Dragons put the game away.
Romine scored five first-quarter points to lead NP to an 8-5 lead after one. The game stayed tight, as MV closed the lead, but the Dragons responded with a run late in the first half to go up 20-14 at the break. Eastes and Romine hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Maxen Hook a free throw to extend the lead to six.
In the third, Eastes hit two free throws to give the Dragons a 26-24 lead. Maximus Gizzi followed with a hoop before Romine hit three triples to push the lead to double-digits. A technical foul on MV sent Romine to the line, where he hit two free throws to start the fourth and extend the lead to 39-24. After a Marauder free throw, Romine hit two more foul shots to push the edge to 16. Eastes then scored six of the Dragons’ next eight points – sandwiched around two free throws from Gizzi – to extend the lead.
Gizzi finished with eight points. True tallied three, as did Jack Walker. Luke Ramsey and Jacob Hockett scored two points each, while Hook tallied one.
Romine’s 23 points eclipsed his career high, set in 2017 against Mt. Vernon.
This sectional title joins championships won in 1957, 1980, 1989, 1997, 2009, 2011 and 2012.
The Dragons are now 17-8 on the season.