BEECH GROVE — In its first game of the new year, New Palestine found a new weapon.
The Dragons used a smothering 2-3 zone defense and a dominant second quarter to rout host Beech Grove 66-41 Saturday afternoon.
For the third straight season, New Palestine is off to a 5-2 start. It finished 17-7 and 15-6 the past two years, winning a sectional championship in 2011-12.
Saturday, the Dragons limited the Hornets (6-3) to their lowest scoring output of the season — 28 points below its season average of 69.
Offensively, New Palestine senior center Seth Cox scored a career-high 17 points and added eight rebounds. Junior guard Ryan Curry, scoring at a 20.3 points per game clip coming into Saturday, poured in 23 for his fifth 20-point game of the season.
“As far a complete game with four quarters on both sides of the ball, yeah, I think so,” said NP coach Adam Barton when asked if Saturday was his squad’s best performance of the season. “It was our best defensive game, especially coming off two weeks off.”
Prior to Saturday, the Dragons last played on Dec. 21 and suffered a 73-52 defeat at common Sectional 13 foe Franklin Central. New Palestine’s other loss came in its opener Dec. 6 vs. Center Grove, another Sectional 13 squad.