The New Palestine boys basketball team has a flair for the dramatic.
The Dragons showed it again Friday. Blaine Nunnally’s 14-foot jumper with five seconds left capped a comeback from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit and gave the Dragons a 62-61 victory over Shelbyville.
Nunnally’s jumper gave the Dragons their only second-half lead – and their first lead since they briefly led 24-21 in the second quarter. It finished off a furious rally from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit.
NP’s biggest deficit of the game was 50-38 late in the third after the Golden Bears had a four-point possession. Damon Hockett answered with a three-point play to cut the deficit to 10 before the Bears hit a 3-pointer to go up 53-41 going into the fourth.
The Dragons then clamped down defensively and slowly began coming back. Steele Brasfield hit two free throws and Nunnally a 3-pointer to draw NP within seven at 53-46. Shelbyville pushed its lead to nine, but the Dragons responded with nine straight points, including a 3-pointer by Brasfield, a baseline drive from Ian Stephens and two free throws by Nunnally. Brasfield hit a driving shot to tie the game at 55 with two minutes left.
Shelbyville responded with a driving basket by Mitch Yeend to re-take the lead with 1:30 left. NP then missed a free throw and the Golden Bears’ Hunter Hounshell hit two foul shots to re-take a 59-55 lead in the final minute. An offensive rebound led to a 3-pointer by C.J. Oliver that drew NP within one with 45 seconds left. The Golden Bears’ Matthew Bunton, who led all scorers with 23 points, responded with two free throws, but Nunnally hit a driving shot to again draw NP within one. With 16 seconds left, the Golden Bears missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving NP the last shot. Nunnally cut off a screen from Matthew Brown that freed him up and drilled the winning shot.
Nunnally scored nine of his 18 points in the final quarter. Brasfield tallied seven of his team-high 22 points in the final frame.
Shelbyville started the game hot, scoring on its first six possessions and hitting four first-quarter 3-pointers to take a 17-11 lead. The Dragons battled back to cut the deficit to 19-18 after a quarter, with Brasfield and Nunnally scoring seven points each in the frame. NP took a 24-21 lead to start the second before the Golden Bears finished the half with a 13-4 run to take a 34-28 lead at the half. Led by Bunton, who scored 13 third-quarter points including two 3-pointers, the Golden Bears pushed their lead to 12 before the Dragons came back in the fourth.
In addition to the two double-figure scorers, Oliver tallied seven points, Brown six, Ian Stephens four, Hockett three and Eli Stephens two.
The Dragons won the JV game 71-38.
The Dragons are now 12-6 on the season and 4-2 in HHC play. They next play Saturday at Connersville.