Basketball (Boys V)
New Palestine High School
Boys basketball dominates second half, wins sectional title
By Andrew Smith | Mar 4, 2023 11:21 PM
The New Palestine boys basketball team took command of Saturday's sectional championship game in the third quarter, taking the lead on the first possession and pulling away to a 71-57 victory over Mt. Vernon to win the 4A Muncie Central sectional.
The Dragons clinched the 10th sectional title in program history and the first since 2020.
Trailing 30-29 going into the second half, they took the lead on two free throws by Eian Roudebush and a quick basket by Blaine Nunnally. The Dragons held MV scoreless for its first six possessions and eventually began to push the lead. Ian Stephens hit a 3-pointer out of the corner to extend the lead to 36-32. Moses Haynes and Julius Gizzi followed with triples to push the advantage to 42-34. Gizzi hit another 3-pointer and Haynes a driving shot for a three-point play, while Ben Slagley added a basket. The Dragons held MV to three field goals in the frame and outscored the Marauders 21-8 to go up 50-38 going into the final quarter.
The Dragons kept the lead in double digits, as Blaine Nunnally hit a pair of early baskets and then fed Ben Slagley for a three-point play that put NP up 57-42 with 3:57 left. MV hit a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched around a basket by Roudebush and a three-point play by Nunnally. After a steal and a foul, MV's Tanner Teschendorf hit two free throws to cut the lead to 10 with 2:34 left, but the Dragons got a defensive stop on the next possession and hit 7-of-8 from the line and added a basket by Gizzi to salt the game away.
MV started out hot, hitting three first-quarter 3-pointers, including a four-point play by Eli Bridenthal, to take a 16-11 lead after a quarter. The Marauders extended their lead to 22-13 with a 3-pointer by Luke Ertel and a three-point play by Julien Smith. The Dragons' Blaine Nunnally took over from there, scoring eight points in an 11-0 run - including a 3-pointer and a three-point play. Haynes also hit a 3 in the run that gave the Dragons a 24-22 edge. MV answered with four straight points to retake the lead at 26-24. Nunnally and Slagley hit shots and Nunnally a late free throw to answer MV baskets and cut the deficit to one at halftime.
Blaine Nunnally led the Dragons with 22 points. Gizzi added 12, all of which came in the second half. Stephens tallied 10 points. Slagley and Haynes each scored nine. Roudebush added seven points, while Bryant Nunnally scored two.
Ertel scored 20 points for MV, but was held to six in the second half, thanks to solid defense by Bryant Nunnally. Smith added 12 points, only four of which came after halftime.
The No. 10/14 Dragons are now 23-2, extending their school record for wins. They advance to next Saturday's Southport regional, where they will face No. 8/7 Brownsburg.