The New Palestine boys basketball team used its strength inside early and strong free throw shooting late to defeat 3A No. 5 Delta 73-65 Friday at NPHS.
It was the Dragons’ first home game in 27 days after eight straight away from home, and their homecoming was an impressive one. Maximus Gizzi scored 13 of his game-high 25 points in the final quarter. Dawson Eastes added 25 points and Eric Roudebush 15 for the Dragons. NP led 34-31 at halftime, seized the lead early in the third quarter and never looked back.
Gizzi scored eight – including two 3-pointers – and Roudebush seven in the second quarter to stake the Dragons to a 34-31 halftime edge. Delta opened the third quarter on a 6-2 run to go up 37-36. The Dragons then responded with a 16-3 run that allowed them to seize a 52-40 lead after three. Eastes scored 13 of his 25 points in the run. Matthew Brown added a basket and Roudebush a free throw.
Delta rallied behind guard Conner Bedwell, who scored 17 first-half points but was held to one in the third quarter. Bedwell scored 18 fourth-quarter points and drew the Eagles within four at 58-54. With three minutes left, Gizzi hit three free throws on a possession to push the lead to 61-54. Delta closed again to 65-60 with a minute to go, but the Dragons forced a miss, rebounded and hit two free throws to put the game away. Gizzi, Blaine Nunnally and Steele Brasfield all hit free throws in the final minute to seal it. NP was 15-23 from the line in the fourth quarter and 27-37 in the game.
The Dragons’ victory was their first over a ranked team since beating Avon in the 2019 regional.
Gizzi tallied his ninth consecutive 20-point game. He now has 1,261 points and needs 24 to tie Tom Giles’ 31-year-old school record of 1,285. Eastes’ total was four points shy of his career high. Roudebush’s mark was one shy of his career high, set against Westfield this season.
The Dragons are now 3-8 on the year and 2-1 in HHC play. They next play Saturday at Southport.
The Dragon JV also won 49-38 behind 10 points each from Luke Burgess and Jaret Whitaker.