Dragons take 3rd at tourney

NOBLESVILLE — Entering the season, New Palestine head coach Sarah Gizzi spoke highly of her team’s expansive depth and talent.

Of course, she didn’t realize then just how valuable it would be in late December.

Already down two players due to injury, the Dragons lost another key contributor in junior Emily Newcomb on Friday, but the team refused to fold, splitting at the Noblesville Holiday Tournament to finish third overall.

Class 4A New Palestine came up short in the morning’s opening round 69-60 against the host 4A Millers before regrouping to knock off 4A Southport 59-52 to win the evening’s consolation game.

“It was really important to come back with a good attitude because we were all pretty down about the first game,” said Dragons’ junior Megan Jolly, who was named to the all-tournament team. “We just didn’t want to be 0-2.”

Without sophomore guard Michaela Jones, who is sidelined with a knee injury, New Palestine recently lost 6-foot-1 junior Katie Herron to an ankle injury Wednesday.

Newcomb suffered an elbow injury during the tournament and is moving forward day-by-day, but before she was forced to sit, she came out strong to score 14 points in the Dragons’ narrow loss to the Millers.

Senior Emma Grable had 16 points, burying four 3-pointers against Noblesville as the duo combined to convert five of the Dragons’ seven treys.

Leah Seib finished with nine points and a 3-pointer, while junior Haley Harrison had eight in the game.

The Dragons trailed by 10 points prior to the fourth quarter before they rallied back behind an 11-0 run to take the lead momentarily.

“I wonder if they weren’t a little satisfied to be just in the game. With Katie (Herron) out, and Michaela (Jones) out,” Gizzi said. “We took the lead and then we had a couple of mental errors, and they charged ahead.”

Emily Kiser, a 6-3 Michigan recruit, had 18 points for the Millers, pouring in 11 during the second half. Mallory Johnson posted a game-high 20 points, going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line with a pair of 3-pointers.

Maddie Knight and Sarah Etchison both added 12 points apiece.

Noblesville kicked off the game with 20 points in the first quarter and posted a bookend 20 to push past the Dragons. The Millers were 19 of 28 from the free-throw line compared to the Dragons’ 13 of 19.

“After losing that one, a win was absolutely necessary for us,” Gizzi said.

New Palestine opened the season 9-0 before falling in three of its last four games. The Dragons’ victory against Southport kept them from their first two-game losing streak this year.

Newcomb was on the court for the consolation game early on, but she had to exit without scoring a single bucket. Herron, who missed the first game, tried to grit through with limited minutes in the second, finishing with two points.

“We’re trying to get through it, but it seems like every play there’s a new injury,” Jolly said. “I don’t know. We’re really deep this year, so we’re lucky we have subs off the bench.”

Jolly, the Dragons’ starting point guard, pulled her weight, providing 17 points after a 3-point performance in the morning game. Seib had a game-high 18 points, going 6-for-6 from the foul line to help the Dragons overcome a 16-12 deficit after the first quarter.

“We’re lucky because on any given night someone can be that leading scorer and score in double figures for us,” Jolly said. “We’re going to have to work at practice, especially with new rotations and being without some starters.”

The Dragons put together a strong 19-point second quarter to lead 31-26 by halftime. They went up 48-34 before the fourth.

Grable and Harrison both provided six points en route to the Dragons’ 11th win on the season.

“We talk about how we have deep team, and it seems like we’re getting more injured by the game, so that’s a luxury I think. I have a high expectation for all the girls, so it’s pretty cool when they rise up to that expectation,” Gizzi said.

“I feel like when everybody is healthy and everyone is back, now our players 7, 8, 9, 10 will have had more experience and reps. Hopefully, in games and other situations, we’ll be able to utilize them even better.”

The Dragons (11-3) return to the court Tuesday when they host Indianapolis Herron. They travel to Indian Creek on Jan. 8 before hosting Hoosier Heritage Conference rival Pendleton Heights on Jan. 12.

Scoreline

Noblesville 69, New Palestine 60

NP;19;10;10;21;—;60

NHS;20;12;17;20;—;69

NEW PALESTINE (10-3): Harrison 2 3-4 8, Jolly 1 1-2 3, Seib 3 2-2 9, Newcomb 4 5-8 14, Biddle 4 2-3 10, Grable 6 0-0 16. Totals: 20 13-19 60.

NOBLESVILLE (8-7): Johnson 6 6-6 20, Knight 5 1-2 12, Whetro 0 3-4 3, Haley 0 0-2 0, A. Kiser 0 0-0 0, E. Kiser 6 5-8 18, Etchison 4 0-0 12, Ely 0 4-6 4. Totals: 21 19-28 69.

3-Pointers: NP 7 (Harrison 1, Seib 1, Newcomb 1 Grable 4), NHS 8 (Johnson 2, Knight 1, E. Kiser 1, Etchison 4).

New Palestine 59, Southport 52

SHS;16;10;8;18;—;52

NP;12;19;17;11;—;59

SOUTHPORT (3-12): Vidaurre 5 0-0 14, Raisor 3 4-5 10, Green 4 1-2 9, Duncan 2 1-2 7, Wright 4 2-6 10, Edington 0 2-2 2, Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 10-17 52.

NEW PALESTINE (11-3): Harrison 2 0-0 6, Cherry 2 0-0 4, Jolly 7 3-7 17, Seib 6 6-6 18, Herron 1 0-0 2, Biddle 1 0-0 2, Grable 2 1-2 6, Adams 2 0-0 4. Totals: 23 10-15 59.

3-Pointers: SHS 6 (Vidaurre 4, Duncan 2), NP 3 (Harrison 2, Grable 1).

Author photo
Rich Torres is sports editor at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at rtorres@greenfieldreporter.com or 317-477-3227.