The New Palestine girls basketball team ended one of the state’s longest active winning streaks, using a strong second half to seize a 41-32 victory over Mt. Vernon Wednesday in the Richmond sectional.
The Dragons (16-7) advance to face Pendleton Heights in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal.
Points were at a premium in the first half, as the Dragons trailed 12-8 at halftime, scoring four points in each of the first two quarters.
But the Dragons started the second half strong, with Michaela Jones drilling a 3-pointer to start the half, followed up by a long two-point shot by Grace Marshall, quickly giving NP a 13-12 lead. MV used a quick 6-1 run to go up 18-14, but the Dragons quickly responded. Isabella Gizzi hit a 3-pointer to launch a 7-0 run. Gizzi, Jordan Reid and Jones would each add baskets to give NP a 23-20 edge going into the fourth.
Reid began the fourth quarter with a driving shot that turned into a three-point play, pushing the lead to 26-20. Gizzi added two free throws to extend the lead to 28-20 in the final four minutes. MV scored six points on back-to-back possessions to cut the lead to 28-26, but Grace Marshall was fouled and hit two free throws to push the lead back to four. MV again answered and forced a stop. Gizzi’s steal-and-score thwarted the Marauders’ attempt to tie the game and helped NP seal it. MV had three consecutive misses, leading to two free throws each by Jones and Gizzi and a driving shot by Gizzi, pushing the lead to 38-28 in the final minute and ending the Marauders’ hopes.
Gizzi led the way for the Dragons, scoring 19 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Jones added 10, with eight coming in the second half. Reid tallied six of her eight points in the second half. Marshall also scored four points. Addi Jones and Faith Hensel also played key roles for the Dragons.