After eight consecutive games away from home, the New Palestine boys basketball team returns home Friday to face the Delta Eagles in a Hoosier Heritage Conference contest. The Dragons then travel to Southport for the first time ever in the regular season for a Saturday tilt.
The Dragons come in after a hard-fought 74-73 overtime defeat at 2A No. 3 Shenandoah Saturday. NP has played the 15th-toughest schedule in the state so far. Maximus Gizzi enters the weekend needing 49 points to become New Palestine’s career scoring leader. He is also within reach of the assists and steals marks.
Delta Eagles (7-1, 1-0) at New Palestine Dragons (2-8, 1-1)
- Site: NPHS
- Time: JV 6 p.m. / V 7:30 p.m.
- Admission: $5
New Palestine Dragons (2-8) at Southport Cardinals (4-5)
- Site: Southport Fieldhouse (directions)
- Time: JV 6 p.m. / V 7:30 p.m.
- Admission: $6
SETTING THE SCENE
After playing eight consecutive games on the road over three weekends, the Dragons return home for the first time since opening weekend, facing defending HHC champion Delta. In their eight-game road swing, which included trips to New Castle, Franklin Central, Richmond, Shenandoah and four games at Bedford North Lawrence, the Dragons traveled 482 miles.
Delta leads the all-time series 13-11, but the Dragons won the most recent meeting at NP. The Eagles won last year’s meeting 64-48 behind 30 points from Josh Bryan. Maximus Gizzi led three Dragons in double figures with 14 points.
The Dragons and Cardinals meet for the fourth time in their histories. This will be the first meeting at the Southport Fieldhouse since a 77-58 Southport victory in the 1962 sectional quarterfinal. The Dragons are making their first vsiit to the fieldhouse since finishing as the runner-up in last spring’s Class 4A regional. NP beat Avon 64-59 before falling to Ben Davis 53-47.
Southport won last year’s meeting 48-46 despite 13 points from NP’s Dawson Eastes.
This will be the second game of the weekend for both teams. Southport faces Franklin Central Friday.
Senior guard Maximus Gizzi is closing in on three school records. With 1,236 points, he needs 49 to catch Tom Giles (1979) as NP’s career scoring leader. He also has 320 assists and needs eight to catch Mitch Miggenburg (328). His 98 steals are four shy of Ryan Curry’s mark of 102 (2015).
Several Dragons had career nights in last Saturday’s 74-73 OT loss to 2A No. 3 Shenandoah. Gizzi tied his career high with 31 points. He was 8-8 from the line in the contest. Junior center Matthew Brown tied his career high with eight points and set his career mark with nine boards. Freshman guard Blaine Nunnally dished a career-high six assists, while senior Eric Roudebush tied his mark with four assists. Dawson Eastes scored 14 points in the contest.
Gizzi enters the weekend having scored 20 or more points in eight consecutive games.
Gizzi and Eastes combined for a rare feat – both tallied double-doubles in the Dec. 21 game at Franklin Central. Gizzi tallied 22 points and 11 boards, while Eastes had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
Delta enters the week ranked No. 6 in the AP Class 3A poll. The Eagles have won seven straight since a season-opening loss to Connersville. Most recently, Delta beat Northeastern 55-45 last Thursday. Delta is 1-0 in HHC play, having beaten Yorktown 62-42 Dec. 13.
The Eagles are led by senior Connor Bedwell (17.3 ppg) and junior Brady Hunt (16.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg). They combine for 34 of Delta’s 55.0 ppg. Bedwell tallied 46 points in the Eagles’ last two games, including 25 against Northeastern. Hunt scored 22 against Northeastern.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
Southport enters the weekend having dropped four straight games, including a 56-43 contest last Friday at Plainfield. The Cardinals began the year with three striaght victories over Perry Meridian, Seymour and Ben Davis. They also beat Greensburg Dec. 14.