Daily Reporter staff reports
Records meant little when Mt. Vernon played host to county rival New Palestine on Tuesday night.
Down by seven points in the second half, the New Palestine girls basketball team rallied late to win 47-43 and remain unbeaten in the Hoosier Heritage Conference.
The victory was the program’s seventh straight and pushed its record to a perfect 5-0 in the HHC. The Dragons (8-3) have now matched their longest winning streak since 2004-05 when they reached the same mark.
It was also their first win at Mt. Vernon since 2007 with six of their past seven victories coming on the road.
Though winless in their past seven games, the Mt. Vernon Marauders (2-10, 0-3 HHC) refused to surrender quietly, holding a two-point advantage in the fourth quarter and nearly upsetting the Dragons with several chances at the end.
The Dragons, however, regrouped behind a game-high 20 points from senior Raegan McMurray and multiple clutch baskets.
An Emma Grable shot with 2:41 left in the game put the Dragons up for good 41-39 after an 8-2 run by the Marauders midway through the fourth quarter applied the pressure.
Megan Jolly sank four straight free throws in the final 40 seconds to give New Palestine a 46-41 lead and another from McMurray sealed the win.
Haley Harrison had 11 points for the Dragons, which forced 31 turnovers, including 17 in the second half.
New Palestine shot 32 percent from the floor but were 24 of 32 from the free-throw line where McMurray was 7 of 10 and Harrison was 8-for-8.
Harrison added three assists, four steals and four rebounds. McMurray finished with five rebounds and two steals.
Jolly added six points, four assists and three steals. Leah Seib had seven points.
Hanna Johnson led the Marauders with 13 points. Mt. Vernon was 46 percent from the field and shot 8 of 16 from 3-point range.
A barrage of 3-pointers highlighted the matchup with New Palestine going up 10-2 in the first quarter as Harrison and McMurray each converted from beyond the arc. Mt. Vernon went 4 of 5 from deep to take a 13-12 lead in the second quarter.
A Seib buzzer beater before halftime sent the Dragons to the locker room up 21-18, but a 10-0 run by Mt. Vernon in the third and two more 3-pointers setup the back-and-forth finale.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Mt. Vernon in the fourth tied the game at 37-all and Sophie Williams broke the deadlock 39-37 before New Palestine’s final outburst.
The Dragons return home on Saturday against HHC foe Yorktown with one more league game remaining on their schedule at home against Pendleton Heights on Dec. 31. Mt. Vernon travels to North Central this Saturday.