INDIANAPOLIS — New Palestine lost to Franklin Central 69-66 on Saturday night. But despite the loss, marking the program’s third in a row, the Dragons have some clear positives to take from the game.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Dragons were losing by 19 points but had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer after scoring 30 fourth-quarter points.

“You’d like to learn something from every loss,” New Palestine coach Trent Whitaker said afterward. “And here the obvious lesson was that you can’t let yourself get in a hole like we did.”

The Flashes blitzed the Dragons in the first half for 40 points as New Palestine struggled to hit shots. Dragon sophomore Dawson Eastes did the heavy lifting on offense in the first half to keep the game from getting out of hand. Eastes would finish with 15 points.

“(Eastes) really kept us in the game in the first half,” Whitaker said. “He’s really worked hard this year and is becoming a nice player for us.”

According to Whitaker, the game turned around for the Dragons in the second half when another sophomore, Kyle King, was subbed in. The Dragons found themselves down by 20 points in the third quarter and 19 at the start of the fourth, but King was able to neutralize Flashes’ forward Donta Harris and grab some key rebounds.

“The game really turned around when Kyle King came in,” Whitaker stated. “He got in there and just gutted out some rebounds and gave us some effort we were lacking early on.”

Another sophomore super-sub helped the Dragons as well in Maxen Hook. Hook came off the bench to score nine points and grab five rebounds, but Whitaker believes he contributes in all areas.

“Hook’s the kind of kid who doesn’t care if he scores a point or not; he’s going to defend as hard he can and just work,” said Whitaker. “He is really helping us so far.”

New Palestine went on a 13-0 run to start the fourth quarter and kept up the pressure on Franklin Central the rest of the way. However, an off-balance 3-pointer from Maximus Gizzi (15 points, three rebounds), hit the back of the rim and the comeback fell just short.

The loss moves New Palestine to 4-3 after a 4-0 start. It lost to Hoosier Heritage Conference foe New Castle 70-55 earlier in the back-to-back weekend on Friday night.

The Dragons will get their opportunity to turn things back around on Dec. 29 at noon during the Tri-West New Year’s Invite.


Franklin Central 69, New Palestine 66



NEW PALESTINE (4-3): Eastes 4 6-9 15, Gizzi 4 4-4 13, Hausz 4 2-2 11, Hook 4 1-2 9, King 3 0-0 6, Romine 3 0-0 6, True 1 3-3 6. Totals: 23 16-20 66.

FRANKLIN CENTRAL (2-5): Harris 7 2-3 16, Morgan 6 0-0 13, Hall 2 7-8 11, Gonzales 3 2-3 9, Waltz 3 2-2 8, Santoro 1 3-4 6, Kolp 0 3-4 3, Cox 1 0-0 2. Totals: 23 19-24 66.

3-pointers: NP 4 (Eastes, Gizzi, Hausz, True 1), FC 4 (Gonzales, Hall, Morgan, Santoro 1).

Rebounds: NP 20 (Hook 5, King, Romine 4, Gizzi, Hausz, True 3, Eastes 2), FC 28 (Waltz 8, Hall 6, Cox 4, Gonzales, Morgan 3, Harris, Kolp 2).