INDIANAPOLIS — Coming into Friday night’s game on the southside of Indianapolis, you couldn’t blame the packed house at Roncalli High School for expecting an easy game.
The Rebels were 10-4 and were facing a team with a 3-9 record. But as the season goes along, the Dragons are becoming much more than their record shows. The scoreboard didn’t end up in the New Palestine’s favor on Friday night, as the Dragons fell to Roncalli 57-47.
“The crowd definitely got their money’s worth tonight,” New Palestine coach Trent Whitaker said afterwards. “But I’m seeing some real growth in this team.”
Throughout much of the first quarter, the Dragons were frustrating the Rebels on the defensive end of the floor and only junior Kellen Scrheiber was able to score the first eight points for Roncalli. A 3-point shot by Conner Gore at the end of the quarter pushed the Rebel lead to four.
Keeping the game close in the first half was New Palestine guard Dylan Romine, who had nine points in the first half. Romine would finish with 18 points on the night, as he hit three treys in the second half to round out his total.
“Dylan had a great game,” Whitaker said. “If he keeps working hard, he can provide that type of game for us every night.”
The second half started poorly for the Dragons, as Schreiber, who would finish with 14 points and 8 rebounds, connected on an alley-oop to put New Pal in a nine-point hole. But it didn’t phase the Dragons, who hit four three-pointers in the quarter to stay within striking distance. For the game overall, the Dragons actually made more 3-point field goals than two-point field goals.
“We’re usually about even and don’t look for the three,” Whitaker said. “But tonight we had to take what the defense gaves us with the big guy (6-foot-9 Roncalli senior Collin Sonderman) in there.”
Roncalli’s steady ball movement and jump shooting ability kept the game just out of reach for the Dragons however, as they could not get closer than five points in the fourth quarter. The loss pushed their record to 3-10, but Whitaker doesn’t look at it that way.
“If you take how we played tonight and apply it to our first eight game [when the Dragons were 1-7], I think our record is around .500,” Whitaker stated. “So I told the guys in the locker room to keep working hard and see where the rest of the year takes us.”
The Dragons will get that chance Saturday night, as they host Franklin High School at 7:30 p.m.