Girls Varsity Basketball · Girls basketball gets defensive in opener

The New Palestine girls basketball team allowed just three points in the opening quarter and used that defensive surge to beat Greenwood 44-28 in Wednesday’s season opener at NPHS.

Led by a strong man-to-man defensive effort and a huge night on the boards by Addi Jones, the Dragons opened the game with a 14-3 run and held a double-digit lead for much of the contest.

An aggressive offensive attack early saw the Dragons get to the line 12 times in the first half and 26 for the game. NP was 16-for-26 from the line in the contest. The Dragons also had solid balance, as seven of the eight players who saw game action scored.

Sophomore Isabella Gizzi led the Dragons with 16 points. Junior Anna Ackerman tallied eight, while Jones and junior Grace Marshall scored seven each. Alaina Miller, Whiteny Miller and Faith Hensel scored two each. Jones also tallied double-digit rebounds.

Gizzi led a strong, balanced first quarter by hitting five of her six free throws to help give NP a 12-3 lead after the break. Jones’ basket early in the second pushed the lead to 14-3. NP led 18-10 at halftime, but quickly pushed the lead to 33-17 with a barrage of 3-pointers in the third quarter. Ackerman drilled a pair of triples, while Gizzi and Marshall also hit shots from beyond the arc. Greenwood bridged the third-quarter buzzer with a seven-point run to cut the lead to 33-24, but a breakaway layup by Gizzi pushed the lead to double digits. While Greenwood scored the next four points to cut the deficit to 35-28, the Dragons’ 7-of-12 free throw shooting in the fourth quarter – including 3-of-4 from Marshall – helped put the game away.

The Dragons forced 19 turnovers in the contest and allowed Greenwood just 10 field goals in the contest. Forward Quinn Kelly led the Woodmen with 16 points.

The Dragons (1-0) next play at 6 p.m. Saturday against Southport. Saturday’s contest will be varsity only.

The Dragons’ JV also started 1-0 with a 52-36 victory.