NEW PALESTINE — New Palestine may not have liked the refereeing. It may not have liked Roncalli’s style of play.
But the Dragons got a well-timed lesson in physicality from the battle-tested 4A Rebels, who downed the hosts 72-57 Friday night. NP (6-4) would be well-served to take heed of that teaching as they embark on the second half of their schedule, a 10-game docket that features nine games against 4A schools.
There’s also no getting around the obvious: Friday night’s tilt in Southern Hancock County resembled a well-whistled rugby match, with 54 the noticeable number — that’s how many free throws and fouls the two teams combined for.
Dragon coach Adam Barton declined to comment on the officiating, but referenced both his team’s last game — a 45-36 home defeat to Pendleton Heights last Friday — and the Rebels (5-6) style of play in explaining his squad’s first losing streak of the year.
“This time last week … I was home by 9 (p.m.). I mean I was home from the game by 9 o’clock. There were 10 fouls each way, there was a flow — it was a basketball game. And it really wasn’t tonight,” Barton said.