The New Palestine boys basketball seniors made their final home game one to remember Saturday night in an 82-74 victory over Whiteland.
Maximus Gizzi scored a career-high 41 points – the third-most points ever scored by a Dragon in a game. Dawson Eastes added 18 of his 23 points in the second half, helping lead a comeback from 10 points down to an eight-point victory.
Eric Roudebush played solid defense and contributed six key points and Logan Hovis earned his first career start in the win.
Gizzi was 21-23 from the line and hit nine field goals in the victory. Eastes scored 12 of his points in the third quarter, including back-to-back 3-pointers to help give the Dragons the lead.
NP trailed for much of the first half, but climbed back to tie the game when Eastes hit a pair of triples and Steele Brasfield hit one. NP led 53-51 after three and Maurice McGee scored the first two points of the fourth quarter, but Whiteland went on a mini-run to take a 60-58 lead. Eastes hit a layup to tie the game at 60-60. Whiteland again re-took the lead at 62-60 and 64-62, but NP answered each – the latter a three-point play by Gizzi to put NP up 65-64.
Blaine Nunnally gave NP a three-point lead by taking a feed from Eastes and exploding to the basket. Whiteland hit two free throws to cut the lead to 67-66, but Gizzi was fouled with 2:06 to go and NP up one. He hit both free throws, then followed with a steal and a three-point play to push the edge to 72-66. Whiteland hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to three, but the Dragons answered with back-to-back breakaway layups by Eastes and Steele Brasfield. Gizzi then finished with a dunk and four free throws to seal it and break the 40-point mark, joining Ryan Curry (46 points, 2014-15), T.J. Ott (44 points, 1997-98) and Dennis Ulrey (40 points, 1974-75) as the only Dragons to tally 40 points in a game.
The teams traded the lead several times in the first quarter before Whiteland jumped out to a 12-point lead early in the second. NP trailed 35-25 when Gizzi drilled his first 3-pointer of the game. Eastes followed with a free throw and, after a Warrior turnover, Gizzi took the ball with 2.1 seconds left, took two dribbles and drilled a 35-foot shot at the halftime buzzer to cut the deficit to 35-32 going into halftime. Gizzi scored 22 of the Dragons’ 32 first-half points.
In addition to Gizzi’s 41 and Eastes’ 23, Roudebush scored six. Brasfield tallied five points and Nunnally three. Maurice McGee and Matthew Brown each tallied two.
The Dragons also won the JV game 80-75 in overtime.
The Dragons (11-12) finish the regular season next Friday at Greenwood.