County dominates HHC football team


New Palestine’s Michael Thacker (52) was one of nine Dragons to make the All-HHC team.

Rob Baker | For The Daily Reporter

Hancock County standouts make up the majority of the 33-member All-Hoosier Heritage Conference football team, released earlier this week.

New Palestine, Mt. Vernon and Greenfield-Central players took 19 of the spots on offense, defense and special teams. Additionally, New Palestine’s Kyle Ralph was named co-Coach of the Year along with Yorktown’s Mike Wilhelm. Both of their teams won sectional championships.

The Dragons, Marauders and Cougars were all ranked during the season in Class 4A. New Pal spent most of the season ranked No. 1. The Dragons went unbeaten in the regular season and finished the season 12-1.

Conference champion New Palestine had nine players selected.

On offense, the Dragons were represented by offensive lineman Thomas Wood, wide receiver Isaiah Thacker, quarterback Daniel Tippit IV and running back Grayson Thomas.

Tippit led the conference with 2,546 passing yards, averaging 195.8 yards per game. He threw 33 touchdown passes and only one interception. He led the conference in total yards with 2,819.

Thomas, though he missed the Dragons final two playoff games and the majority of a third, led the league in rushing with 1,509 yards. He averaged 137.2 yards per game and had 26 touchdowns, leading the HHC in points with 156.

Thacker ranked second in receiving yards with 917 and third in yards per game with 70.5.

New Pal had four players on the defensive side, too, including defensive tackle Michael Thacker, linebacker Eli Hook, and defensive backs Daniel Thacker and Blaine Nunnally.

Michael Thacker had an HHC best 13 sacks, five more than any other player. He also had 34.5 tackles for loss.

Hook ranked fifth in the league in tackles with 116. Nunnally was tied for seventh with 112 tackles and tied for third in interceptions with four. He also tied for the HHC lead in touchdown receptions with 12. Daniel Thacker tied for the HHC lead in interceptions with five.

Dragons’ kicker Brendan Tanksley was a special teams selection. He led the conference in kick scoring with 73 points.

Conference runner-up Mt. Vernon was represented on offense by lineman Kyler Grill, and wide receivers Eli Bridenthal and George Burhenn.

Burhenn was second in the league in yards per game at 78.4 and third in total yards with 784. Bridenthal was fifth in receiving yards with 622. He was third in points with 120 and second in touchdowns with 19.

Defensively, the Marauders had lineman Tyler Kimberly and linebacker Kellen LaBelle.

Greenfield-Central tied for third in the HHC with Yorktown and Pendleton Heights. The Cougars had two players named on offense, lineman Brayden Flener and running back Andrew Zellers.

Zellers, who missed multiple games due to injury, was still third in total yards with 1,065. He was second in yards per game with 133.1 and fifth in touchdowns with 15.

On defense, G-C had three selections, lineman Brad Allen, linebacker Jake Hinton and defensive back Kirk Knecht.

Hinton ranked sixth in total tackles with 115 and third in tackles per game with 10.5. Allen was seventh in sacks with four. Knecht was tied for third in the conference with four interceptions.

Girls basketball

Gizzi breaks mom’s record

Isabella Gizzi became New Palestine’s all-time leading scorer, eclipsing the mark held by her mother, Dragons head coach Sarah (Haynes) Gizzi, in the Dragons 58-54 loss at Franklin Central Tuesday.

Isabella Gizzi scored 23 on the night, leading all scorers, and her 1,173rd career point in the loss to the Flashes. Coach Gizzi had 1,172 points from 1990-94.

Gizzi, the senior guard, had 15 second-half points. She hit 7 of 9 at the free-throw line. Vivian Miller and Allie Blum each scored 11 points. Both had three 3-pointers.

The Dragons scored 41 second-half points after being down 21-13 at halftime.

New Palestine (2-2) plays host to Warren Central Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Second half keys Cougars win

Greenfield-Central outscored host Richmond 29-11 in the second half in a 45-27 victory Tuesday at Tiernan Center.

The Cougars trailed 13-7 at the end of the first quarter and were tied 16-16 at halftime.

Greenfield-Central sophomore Chaney Brown led all scorers with 23 points. She had four 3-pointers and 14 second-half points. Seniors Aryana Hibbard and Taylor Smith had 11 and six, respectively.

The Cougars improved to 3-2. They will play host to Pendleton Heights Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the first Hoosier Heritage Conference game of the season.

Royals get fourth victory

Eastern Hancock jumped out to a 26-5 first-quarter lead on its way to a 60-22 victory over Union in a Mid-Eastern Conference Tuesday at Eastern Hancock.

The Royals extended their lead to 45-11 at halftime and played with a running clock much of the second half.

With the win, Eastern Hancock is 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the MEC. Union is 1-1 and 0-1 in the conference.

The Royals travel to Cowan for another MEC contest Thursday.

Girls swimming

Dragons get two wins

New Palestine opened its girls swimming season with two victories.

In a tri-meet with Shelbyville and Lawrence Central, the Dragons beat both teams at the New Palestine Natatorium Tuesday.

The Dragons defeated Shelbyville 59-42 and LC 73-24.

New Palestine won six of 12 events, including two of the three relay races.

Olivia Melangton, Kyleigh Turner, Katelyn Trimpe and Madalyn Bard each won individual races.

Melangton took the top spot in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:30.11. Turner won the 50 freestyle in 28.36 seconds. Trimpe was first to touch in the 500 freestyle with a time of 6:03.33. Bard was the winner in the 100 breaststroke in 1:32.21.

In relays, Trimpe, Lillie Abernathy, Chloe Siler and Turner won the 200 medley relay in 2:07.62. Emma Snyder, Turner, Hanna Stone and Siler were first in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:57.88.

The Dragons go on the road for their next meet, Thursday at Greenwood with Roncalli.