Dragons pull away for road win

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For the Daily Reporter

GREENWOOD — New Palestine overcame a sluggish start, settled down, and ultimately posted a 62-54 win over host Greenwood in nonconference girls basketball action Wednesday night.

It seemed that patience and good shot selection were the key for the Dragons, though it didn’t always seem that way.

“It was not a beautiful game, but I’m always happy to win,” New Palestine coach Sarah Gizzi said. “We had some great contributions from our girls.”

Unfortunately for Greenwood, the struggles continue as they fell to 0-3 and have now lost eight straight games dating back to last season. Its last win was against city rival Greenwood Christian way back on Jan. 11.

The Woodmen have been showing rapid signs of improving and are inching closer to winning. Second-year coach Justin Bennett is pleased with the progress he’s seen.

“We fought hard and I’m proud of the fight we showed,” he said. “They beat us by 43 points last year and they are still a good team. The chemistry of this group is just amazing.”

In the end, New Palestine (2-0) had just a bit too much.

The game was close for most of the first half, but some Greenwood turnovers allowed the Dragons to increase the lead to seven just before the half. They continued to roll early in the second half, hitting their first three shots in the third quarter.

New Palestine shot a slick 60 percent from the field in the third and took a 46-33 lead into the fourth, but with the way the game ebbed and flowed at times, a 13-point lead wasn’t safe.

“We thought like we were in control and then they hit a couple of deep 3s,” Gizzi said.

Indeed, Greenwood senior Ashley Buster got all nine of her points from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. Her last shot brought the Woodmen to within 11 with 2:09 to play.

Perhaps not enough time for the home team to rally all the way back, but Gizzi wasn’t taking any chances and decided to have the Dragons really display some patience, playing keep-away from the Woodmen and refusing to take any shot outside the key.

The tactic worked and Greenwood was forced to run after the ball.

“The third quarter was a little rough for us,” Bennett said. “But we fought at the end and took some good shots.”

It was a team effort for New Palestine as four Dragons were in double figures, led by Addi Jones’ 14 points. Jordan Reid and Grace Marshall had 11 points and Michaela Jones added 10.

Greenwood was led by junior Anna Pritchett, who lead all scorers with 16 points. Jenna Sawyer had 11 and Quinn Kelly was the final player in double digits at 10.

“We have some things to improve on,” Gizzi said. “We’re still kind of a new team and I have to remind the girls of that.”

Up next for New Palestine is a Saturday night date at Southport, while Greenwood keeps trying to break into the win column at Seymour on Saturday afternoon.