Basketball (Boys V) New Palestine High School

Boys basketball preview: Tuesday vs. Mt. Vernon

By Andrew Smith | Feb 26, 2024 2:35 PM

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The No. 15 New Palestine boys basketball team opens sectional play Tuesday as it faces conference rival Mt. Vernon for the 92nd meeting between the schools - and the 18th sectional meeting. Mt. Vernon Marauders (15-8) at New Palestine Dragons (19-5) Time: 7 p.m. Tuesday Site: Cougar Gymnasium, Greenfield-Central HS Tickets: $7/session, $15/all session, Broadcast (audio): Note: Fans are advised to purchase tickets in advance, because sellouts are expected. More sectional info from G-C: SETTING THE SCENE The Dragons open sectional play with their 92nd meeting against Mt. Vernon and second in seven days. This season marks the sixth time in seven years the two schools have met in the sectional. The winner has gone on to win the sectional each time. NP and MV are the only two schools to win a Sectional 9 title since the Dragons joined the field in 2017-18 - NP with titles in 2019, 2020 and 2023; MV with championships in 2018, 2021 and 2022. This is the Dragons’ 107th appearance in the IHSAA tournament, dating back to 1916-17. NP has won 10 sectional titles in its history, six of which have come since 2009. Head coach Trent Whitaker has led NP to three championships. In Class 4A (2012-15, 2018-present), the Dragons are 17-6 in sectional games and have won four sectional championships. NP trails the series 55-36, but has won six of the last 10. The Dragons are ranked in the IBCA poll for the fifth straight week and finish in the Top 20 for the second straight year. The Dragons finished No. 14 in 2023. DRAGONS NOTES The Dragons enter the sectional having won eight of their last nine games. Friday night, they routed Greenwood 70-52, leading by as many as 29 points in the fourth quarter. Moses Haynes had a career-high 24 points, hitting 7-of-8 from 3-point range. He also added eight assists. Julius Gizzi added 17 points and 13 rebounds for his fourth consecutive double-double and sixth of the year. As a team, the Dragons were 8-16 from deep against Greenwood and shot 51% (25-49) from the floor overall. The Dragons saw a seven-game winning streak snapped Tuesday at Mt. Vernon. Gizzi tallied a double-double with 27 points and 13 rebounds. It was his third consecutive double-double and the fifth of both his season and career. He became the first Dragon to tally three straight double-doubles since Ben Slagley did so in the 2022-23 season. Gizzi, the state’s leading second-leading scorer at 29.8 ppg, now has 716 points this season, extending his school record. He has 955 career points, moving past Royce McDougall into 12th place on the NPHS all-time list Feb. 20. He needs 19 points to catch Matthew True for 11th. He has tallied 20-plus points in 22 games this season and 30-plus points in 13 of the Dragons’ 24 contests. He is the only player in NPHS history with two career 40-point games. He set an NPHS gymnasium record with 44 points against Whiteland and also had 43 against Franklin Central this season. Haynes has 163 assists this season, a school record. He is currently sixth on the NPHS career assists list with 237. He ranks fourth in the state at 7.1 apg. The Dragons’ 19 wins are tied for third-most in school history. Gizzi (8.4) and Slagley (7.2) are first and second in the HHC in rebounding. Haynes is also fifth in the HHC in steals (2.1). SCOUTING THE MARAUDERS MV was hit by injuries early but has won five straight and seven of its last eight to to finish the regular season 15-8. Julien Smith leads MV, averaging 14.0 ppg and 5.3 rpg. Sophomore Luke Ertel, who has played just five games after returning from a football injury, adds 13.2 ppg and 4.6 rpg. Elijah Parra adds 9.1 ppg. Tanner Teschendorf had 11 points and Ertel 10 boards in Friday’s 59-33 victory over Yorktown. LOOKING AHEAD The winner of tonight’s game meets Pendleton Heights at 6 p.m. Friday at Greenfield-Central. The championship game is slated for 7:30 p.m. Saturday. FOLLOW US Follow the Dragons on Facebook (@newpalestinedragons), Twitter (@NPHSDragons), Instagram (@newpalestinedragons) and online ( All Dragons boys basketball games, home and away, are broadcast at Photo credit: Aaron Smith

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