NEW PALESTINE — The New Palestine Dragons aren’t focused on rewriting history, but with every win, it’s happening regardless.
Up 15-13 at halftime, the unbeaten Class 4A Dragons overcame foul trouble and their shooting woes in the second half to survive and thrive 42-31 against rival Greenfield-Central on Friday night.
The win improved their record to 9-0 — the best start in program history — and kept them undefeated in the Hoosier Heritage Conference at 4-0.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise we struggle with zone. I think people have figured that out,” New Palestine head coach Sarah Gizzi remarked after the win. “But they play hard, and when you play hard, I think good things happen.”
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Much like the New Palestine boys team, which is posting their best record in 21 seasons, the girls refuse to lose even when things go against them.
Using a 10-2 run to pull ahead 15-8 in the first half, Greenfield-Central (2-7, 1-1 HHC) charged back and tied the game in the third quarter at 17-all.
Hannah Farrell, who had six points and three rebounds, knotted the score 19-all with 5:18 left in the third behind the Cougars 1-3-1 zone efficiency and pressure up top.
The guard and her sister Jessica Farrell, who finished with nine points and seven rebounds, kept the team in position to shock the host Dragons.
New Palestine was called for nine fouls in the third quarter, but despite six freebies from 15-feet, the Cougars only converted two. For the game, they went 15 of 22 from the foul line.
With 35.2 seconds left in the third, Hannah Farrell was forced to leave the game with an ankle injury, which helped the Dragons take the lead for good.
“I felt really good at where we were until Hannah got hurt,” Greenfield-Central head coach Joshua Means said. “I think that was the game-changer for us. We were in good position. Defensively, we were playing well and getting good looks, but we were missing open layups, free throws and open threes.”
Prior to Farrell’s injury, the Dragons went on a 6-1 run to go up 25-20. After she left, the zone loosened and New Palestine built a 34-22 lead on a 9-2 run in the fourth quarter.
“We hit enough free throws down the stretch to help us win,” Gizzi said. “We only had two field goals in the fourth quarter, but we’ll take the victory.”
Leah Seib had 14 points for the Dragons, shooting 7 of 7 from the foul line. Katie Herron had eight rebounds, while Megan Jolly led all scorers with 13 points, shooting 4 of 6 from the field and 4 of 6 from the free-throw line.
“It’s awesome to win. You can easily lose plenty of the games we’ve played already, so to win, it’s always positive. It’s always good for New Palestine to beat their rivals,” Gizzi said. “To beat Greenfield-Central is always a great thing for us. So we’ll enjoy the victory.”