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New Pal outlasted by Center Grove in thriller


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GREENWOOD — New Palestine’s first-ever regular-season boys basketball meeting with Center Grove Friday night was a tournament-quality classic.

The shootout in CG’s west (old) gym required both four additional minutes and 90 points to win.  The host Trojans finally pulled away from the Dragons in the final 1:25 and prevailed 95-89 in a contest that about left players — and fans — exhausted.

“It was a fun game to watch...a great high school basketball game,” NP coach Adam Barton said.  ”It was a little tougher to be on the short end.”

The match featured nine ties and 14 lead changes, the first of which occurred less than two minutes before halftime, after the Dragons had erased a 27-15 deficit from the first quarter.

NP (2-1) matched the athletic Trojans (2-1) just about hoop-for-hoop from the end of the first half until late in the OT, and canned 14 three-pointers to stay within reach of CG.

The Dragons got career highs from senior guard Justin Ikerd (25 points, five three-pointers) and sophomore guard Ryan Curry (24 points, three threes off the bench).

Senior wing Michael Morris came up with 24 points, including a power drive in the lane with 46 seconds to go in the fourth quarter that knotted the score at 82. It would remain that way going into OT.

“I was very impressed with our shooters, Curry and Ikerd; they did a great job in the perimeter,” Barton said.  “Mike (Morris) did a great job getting them the ball.”

The Trojans raced to the early 12-point advantage, scoring 13 of their first 19 points off six Dragon turnovers.

But NP settled down after the first stop and went on a 13-3 run to start the second, as Curry matched his previous career high with a pair of threes at the outset of the period. Curry scored his first 15 in the second.

The Dragons led 45-44 at the break, after Sam Larrabee made a free throw after time had expired.

CG led for most of the next 12 minutes, but the lead changed hands four times after that, with Morris making two threes during that exchange.  NP tied it at 80 and 82, the latter on Morris’ drive.

Morris had a chance to win it with 1.4 seconds to go when he was fouled while shooting.  He missed the first half of a one-and-one and nobody could control the rebound, so there was free basketball for the crowd.

Ikerd gave the Dragons an 85-82 lead with a three and there would be two more ties, but the Trojans would take over.

Michael Benkert made good on a back-door pass from Ryan Pendygraft with 1:25 left to put CG ahead 89-87.  The Trojans outscored NP 6-2 from there.

All five of CG’s starters were in double figures. Troy Vorhies paced the winners with 29 points and 13 rebounds.

“If we had played (the Trojans) after the second weekend of the year, there would be a few more things we could do, but we’re limited now,” Barton said.

Notes: NP and CG met in sectionals in 1965 and 1969, with the Trojans winning both times. The schools could see each other again back at CG in March in the sectional. … The Dragons fell to CG in the JV game 48-38.  Freshman Duke Blackwell led the Dragons with eight points. ... The game was played in the old CG gym because a musical was taking place in the newer gym. … NP hosts Rushville tonight in a Hoosier Heritage Conference contest.

VARSITY

Center Grove 95, New Palestine 89 (OT)

NP — Morris 9-15 2-2 24, Jonas 2-4 0-2 2, Roach 0-3 0-0 0, So. Haynes 1-6 1-3 4, Ikerd 9-14 2-2 25, Cox 1-2 0-0 2, Sa. Haynes 1-2 0-0 2, Curry 5-13 11-12 24, Larrabee 1-3 1-2 4. Totals — 29-62 17-23 89.

CG — Benkert 6-11 1-4 15, Vorhies 8-18 12-14 29, Brown 6-14 1-2 14, Bryant 7-11 4-6 18, Pendygraft 3-5 8-10 14, Porter 0-0 0-0 0, Wilson 2-2 1-2 5, Crowder 0-1 0-0 0, Lenkey 0-0 0-0 0, Leiter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 32-62 27-38 95.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

NP (2-1) 15 30 21 16 7 — 89

CG (2-1) 27 17 25 13 13 — 95

Three-pt. field goals: NP 14-29 (Ikerd 5-9, Morris 4-7, Curry 3-8, So. Haynes 1-2, Larrabee 1-2, Roach 0-1) CG 5-13 (Benkert 2-3, Vorhies 1-2, Brown 1-4, Bryant 0-3, Pendygraft 0-1).

Rebounds: NP 28 (Jonas 6, Morris 6, Larrabee 3, Curry 2, Sa. Haynes 2, Cox 2, So. Haynes 1, Ikerd 1, Team 5), CG 34 (Vorhies 13, Benkert 7, Bryant 5, Brown 3, Porter 1, Team 5). Assists: NP 9 (So. Haynes 5, Ikerd 2, Jonas 2), CG 17 (Pendygraft 8, Brown 2, Bryant 2, Vorhies 2, Benkert 1, Leiter 1, Wilson 1). Steals: NP (Ikerd 2, So. Haynes 1, Morris 1, Larrabee 1), CG 7 (Pendygraft 3, Benkert 1, Brown 1, Bryant 1, Wilson 1). Blocked shots: NP 1 (Morris 1). Total fouls: NP 27, CG 20. Fouled out: So. Haynes, Jonas. Turnovers: NP 11, CG 11.

JV

Center Grove 48, New Palestine 38

NP — Blackwell 8, Farley 7, Lytle 5, Kuhn 5, Chandler 4, Hiland 4, Hickman 2, Riley 2, McKay 1

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