The New Palestine boys basketball team finishes the regular season Friday at Greenwood in a matchup of conference champions. The HHC champion Dragons face off against the Mid-State co-champion Woodmen in the final tune-up before next week’s sectional.
The Dragons drew a bye in the Muncie Central sectional and will open Friday, March 6 against either Mt. Vernon or Anderson.
New Palestine Dragons (11-12) at Greenwood Woodmen (16-5)
- Site: Greenwood HS (directions)
Time: JV 6 p.m. / V 7:30 p.m.
- Admission: $5
SETTING THE SCENE
The Dragons conclude the regular season with a matchup of conference champions, as the Hoosier Heritage Conference champion Dragons meet the Mid-State co-champion Woodmen. This is NP’s third matchup with a conference champ. The Dragons beat Indiana Crossroads champion Beech Grove 65-64 Feb. 4. NP fell 74-73 in OT to Mid-Eastern Conference champ Shenandoah Jan. 3. NP has clinched its first Hoosier Heritage conference title since 2013. It’s the Dragons’ fourth HHC title and ninth overall.
This is the final sectional tune-up for both teams. The Dragons open sectional play March 6 at the Muncie Fieldhouse against either Anderson or Mt. Vernon. Greenwood meets county rival Whiteland at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Shelbyville sectional.
The Dragons lead the series 25-17 in games played since 1949-50. NP and Greenwood have played annually since 1984-85. NP has won six straight meetings and 14 of the last 15.
NP is 4-0 against Mid-State Conference teams this season.
The Dragons finished their home schedule last Saturday with a come-from-behind 82-74 victory over Whiteland. NP rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit to take the lead in the third quarter and then seize control in the fourth.
Guard Maximus Gizzi scored 41 points in the victory, the third-highest total in school history. He tallied 13 in the second quarter, which included a 35-footer at the halftime buzzer, and 14 in the fourth. His fourth-quarter total included going 8-8 from the line and tallying two three-point plays. Gizzi was 21-of-23 from the free throw line in the game. He pushed his season average to 24.1 ppg and now has 1,558 career points. On Friday night, he had eight assists in the loss to Mt. Vernon, one shy of his career high.
Forward Dawson Eastes tallied 23 points against Whiteland on 9-14 shooting. He had 13 rebounds for the weekend, and is tallying 8.9 rebounds per game in 2020. Eastes crossed the 800-point barrier and now has 822 career points. Eastes’ three blocks Friday against MV were a career high.
Freshman guard Blaine Nunnally tallied seven assists Saturday, tying his career high.
NP had four players in double-figures for the third time this season Friday against Mt. Vernon. Gizzi tallied 19 points, Eastes 14, while Steele Brasfield and Eric Roudebush scored 10 each.
Against Whiteland, the Dragons shot 50 percent from the floor (25-50) and 79 percent from the line (27-34). NP scored 31 fourth-quarter points and 52 in the second half.
SCOUTING THE WOODMEN
Greenwood is led by a familiar face in third-year coach Joe Bradburn, who coached in the Hoosier Heritage Conference for five seasons from 1999-2004 as the head coach of Yorktown. He led the Tigers to the 1998 State Finals two seasons before the school joined the HHC.
The Woodmen return their top two scorers from last year’s meeting. Spencer Aaron scored 12 points and Bryce Hoffman 11 in a game NP won 47-34 last year.
Greenwood enters the weekend on a three-game winning streak, having swept Mooresville 47-35 and Mt. Vernon 51-34 last weekend. The Woodmen beat Indian Creek 53-43 Tuesday.