The New Palestine boys basketball team used a fast start, but needed a furious last-minute rally Saturday to beat Perry Meridian 64-58 in overtime.
NP trailed 50-43 with 90 seconds to go, but a comeback launched by Blaine Nunnally’s 3-pointer from the right wing drew the Dragons back within four. Steele Brasfield added a 3-pointer, while Eli Stephens scored a rebound basket and Nunnally hit two free throws to draw NP within two in the final 30 seconds.
Perry Meridian’s Reggie McDonald hit a free throw with 16 seconds left to give the Falcons a three-point edge. On the final possession, NP lined up a 3-pointer but it fell short. The rebound was tipped out of bounds by the Falcons, giving NP one final shot with 3.9 seconds left. Stephens inbounded to Brasfield in the left corner, who hit a fallaway 3-pointer to send the game into overtime tied at 56.
In the extra session, the Dragons forced turnovers on the Falcons’ first two possessions. NP missed a 3-pointer on its first possession, but Nunnally drove inside and scored on the second. After missing a shot on its next possession, Perry Meridian began fouling to extend the game and Nunnally hit four free throws to extend the lead to 62-56. Brasfield added two late foul shots to give NP an eight-point lead and seal the victory.
Nunnally finished the game with 21 points – 15 in the fourth quarter and OT. Brasfield scored 14 of his 20 points after the start of the fourth quarter, including hitting four 3-pointers in the frame.
The Dragons used strong balance to get off to a hot start, leading 13-2 and 29-14 in the first half before Perry Meridian scored the final six points of the half to cut the Dragons’ lead to six. Stephens scored nine of his 11 points in the opening half. Seven different Dragons tallied points in the first 16 minutes.
PM then held the Dragons scoreless for the first six minutes of the second half, tallying the first 12 points to extend its run to 18 and take a 32-29 lead on Jayden Taylor’s 3-pointer. He scored 11 of the Falcons’ 18 points in the run and finished the game with 28. Brasfield hit a pair of shots late in the quarter to give the Dragons a 33-32 lead after three, but the Falcons re-took the lead in the fourth, led by Taylor’s five points and a 13-point quarter from guard Izaiah Brinker, who hit 10-of-12 from the line in the frame. That helped PM pushed the edge to seven late in the game before NP’s comeback.
In addition to the three double-figure scorers, C.J. Oliver scored five points, Matthew Brown four, Luke Burgess two and Damon Hockett one.
The Dragons are now 11-6 on the season. Perry Meridian is 9-7.
The Dragons also won the JV game 36-33.
NP next plays Friday at Shelbyville in a Hoosier Heritage Conference game, before finishing the weekend Feb. 13 at Connersville.