Mistakes prove costly for New Pal

LIZTON — Fixing turnovers is going to be a point of emphasis the next time the New Palestine boys basketball team hits the practice floor.

In two games at Friday’s Tri-West Holiday Tournament, the Dragons threw the ball away 31 times in losses to both Beech Grove 50-42 and Decatur Central 83-65.

Of course, playing two games with less than an hour’s rest in between made it especially tough on the Dragons, but coach Trent Whitaker wasn’t about to use that as an excuse.

“It’s why you want to win the first one so you have that two-hour rest,” he said. “But at the same time, we’ve got kids that have played four games in a day. In AAU these days, they play a game every hour for three hours.”

A back-and-forth first quarter went the Decatur Central Hawks’ way late to take a six-point advantage behind back-to-back 3-pointers from Ryan Bostic and Ceddy Brent.

In just the first half alone, the Hawks drained six 3-pointers to keep themselves in the ballgame.

They carried that momentum into the second, weathering short scoring bursts by the Dragons — who did most of their damage at the free-throw line — and using a 9-2 run to close out the half.

The tandem of Tyrone and Kenny Tracy switched up the game plan in the second half, driving to the hole and either getting fouled or kicking out to a wide-open shooter. Scoring seemingly at will from inside the paint or with short-range jumpers, the Dragons struggled to defend either in zone or man-to-man.

It got to the point where it didn’t matter what sort of defense his team played, the Hawks were finding ways to penetrate it.

“It’s difficult (to defend), obviously, when they’re that quick,” Whitaker said. “We were a little stubborn and stayed man at times, but our zone didn’t work out too well either against those guys.”

Still, regardless what defense or how the Dragons were playing it, the bottom line for Whitaker is his team can’t have double-digit turnover games and expect to win.

“We’ve got to learn from our mistakes,” he said. “I thought we made some one-handed passes, and mentally the kids get tired and they try to make that perfect play when they’re not physically capable of doing it.”

Maximus Gizzi led the Dragons with 22 points, and Dawson Eastes also scored in double figures with 14. Gavin Hausz added 10 and Matthew True chipped in six. Dylan Romine and Kyle King each scored four, while Maxen Hook and Jacob Hockett rounded out the scoring with three and two points, respectively.

Game 1

Two 10-0 runs by Beech Grove did in the Dragons in their opener. They were able to regroup and retake the lead after the first run, but the second Hornets blitz did them in and put the game out of reach.

Led by Kenny Washington’s 19 points, the Hornets overcame a sluggish start for the win while forcing the Dragons into 19 turnovers.

Those mistakes, coupled with the Dragons’ inability to consistently work the ball into the paint, made maintaining their early lead difficult.

“They changed the pace on us with that 1-3-1 zone,” Whitaker said. “We had guys where they needed to be, they just weren’t confident enough at times to either make the pass or catch the pass and turn and score.”

Both teams took some time to get going in the first quarter, needing three minutes before the Dragons broke through at the 4:57 mark. From there, they traded buckets until New Palestine went on a 6-0 run at the end of the first and into the early stages of the second quarter to take and 18-10 lead.

However, the Hornets would not be denied, responding with a 10-0 run of their own to take their first lead at 20-18 midway thru the second. Two straight baskets by Matthew True halted the Hornets’ run to give the Dragons a three-point advantage at the break.

A six-minute drought between free-throw attempts shut down any chance the Dragons had at pulling out the win. While the Hornets were able to pull off two extended runs, the Dragons never scored more than six in a row before a Hornets bucket.

True and Gizzi led the charge with 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Eastes and Hausz each added six. King chipped in three, and Romine and Walker scored two.

New Palestine returns home next Friday for a Hoosier Heritage Conference tilt with the Delta Eagles at 7:30 p.m.


Beech Grove 50, New Palestine 42



NEW PALESTINE (4-4): True 5 0-0 12, Gizzi 2 6-6 11, Hausz 2 2-3 6, Eastes 2 1-2 6, King 1 1-1 3, Romine 1 0-0 2, Walker 1 0-0 2, Hook 0 0-1 0. Totals: 14 10-13 42.

BEECH GROVE (6-2): Washington 8 3-6 19, Curry 3 4-4 10, Seals 4 0-0 8, Hess 4 0-0 8, Wade 1 0-0 3, Ancelet 1 0-0 2. Totals: 21 7-10 50.

3-pointers: NPHS 4 (True 2, Gizzi, Eastes), BGHS 1 (Wade). Rebounds: NPHS 25 (Romine 8, True, Walker, Hausz, 3, Gizzi, King, Hook 2), BGHS 20 (Hess 11, Seals 5, Curry 2, Washington, Brickley). Fouls: NPHS 13, BGHS 13.

Decatur Central 83, New Palestine 65



NEW PALESTINE (4-5): Gizzi 3 13-14 22, Eastes 5 1-2 14, Hausz 3 3-6 10, True 3 0-0 6, King 2 0-0 4, Romine 1 2-2 4, Hook 1 0-1 3, Hockett 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19 19-24 65.

DECATUR CENTRAL (3-5): Williams 8 0-0 21, Bostic 7 2-2 20, Brent 4 4-4 13, T. Tracy 5 2-5 12, K. Tracy 3 1-1 37, Dickson 2 0-0 4, Hamilton 0 2-2 2, Murillo 1 0-0 2. Totals: 30 11-14 83.

3-pointers: NPHS 6 (Eastes 3, Gizzi, Hook, Hausz), DCHS 10 (Williams 5, Bostic 4, Brent). Rebounds: NPHS 23 (King, Walker, Hausz 4, Gizzi, Eastes, Romine 3, True, Hook), DCHS 26 (T. Tracy 10, Williams 7, K. Tracy 4, Brent, Bostic 2). Fouls: NPHS 14, DCHS 17.