The New Palestine boys basketball team is in action this weekend with two road games, beginning with an HHC tilt at Shelbyville. The Dragons then travel to the Spartan Bowl at Connersville for a Saturday showdown.
Friday, Feb. 12: New Palestine Dragons (11-6, 3-2 HHC) at Shelbyville Golden Bears (5-10, 3-2 HHC)
Saturday, Feb. 13: New Palestine Dragons (11-6) at Connersville Spartans (11-7)
- Location: Spartan Bowl, Connersville (directions) Note: The Spartan Bowl is located at Connersville Middle School
- Time: 6 p.m. JV, 7:30 p.m. varsity.
- Tickets: Each player is guaranteed two tickets, then any remaining tickets will be cash sales at the door while tickets remain available.
- Broadcast: NewPalRadio.com (audio)
SETTING THE SCENE
After playing three straight games at home, the Dragons hit the road for a double-weekend, beginning against HHC foe Shelbyville.
Both teams enter with 3-2 HHC records and will have have one conference game remaining after this weekend. The winner will clinch at least third place in the league.
This is the 37th overall and 26th regular season meeting between the Dragons and Golden Bears. Shelbyville leads the all-time series 19-17, but NP leads the regular season series 14-11. The Dragons have won three straight meetings and eight of the last 10, including an 89-49 NP victory last year that clinched the program’s fourth HHC title.
Saturday, the Dragons and Connersville meet for the eighth consecutive year in the regular season and the ninth time overall. NP trails the all-time series 5-3 and is 1-2 all-time at the Spartan Bowl.
A victory this weekend would clinch the Dragons’ fourth straight winning season, the longest such streak since six straight winning seasons from 1983-89.
The Dragons enter the week after a thrilling 64-58 overtime victory over Perry Meridian. The Dragons rallied from a 50-43 deficit in the final 90 seconds to send the game to overtime on Steele Brasfield’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. It was his fourth triple of the fourth quarter and the Dragons’ fifth. Blaine Nunnally scored nine points and hit a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, then scored the first six points of overtime to allow the Dragons to seal the victory.
Nunnally tallied 21 points – his third 20-point game in the last five outings – and dished a career high-tying seven assists. Brasfield tallied 20 points – his fourth 20-point game of the season. Each averages 16.9 ppg.
Senior Eli Stephens had a big game against Perry Meridian, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Senior Matthew Brown pulled down eight rebounds.
In his last three games, Brasfield is shooting 54 percent (21-39) and averaging 20.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg. Nunnally is averaging 18.4 ppg and 5.4 assists per game in his last five contests. He’s tied his career high with seven assists three times in that span.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN BEARS
Shelbyville has fared well in HHC play, beating New Castle 59-36 and Pendleton Heights 68-60 in its last two conference games Jan. 29-30. The Golden Bears have struggled outside of the league, where their lone two non-conference wins have come against Rushville and Eastern Greene.
Senior Mitch Yeend leads Shelbyville, averaging 12.4 ppg. Sophomore Ollie Sandman tallies 8.8 ppg.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
The Spartans snapped a four-game skid by beating EIAC rival East Central 37-28 Thursday. Their previos two results have been razor-thin games against solid teams – a 40-38 overtime loss to Jennings County Feb. 1 and a four-point 40-36 defeat to 4A No. 2 Lawrence North Feb. 6.
With a 4-0 mark, Connersville currently leads the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference.
Senior Jonah Graham (8.0 ppg) leads the Spartans. Junior Tobey Billups adds 7.6 points and 5.6 assists per game. Connersville scores 45.2 ppg, but allows the fourth-fewest points per game in the state at 38.6.