FORTVILLE — There will be much more at stake when the teams reunite next week in a quarterfinal round game of the Greenfield-Central Boys Basketball Sectional, but Mt. Vernon made a big statement in Tuesday’s regular-season matchup against rival New Palestine.

The Marauders broke a 4-4 tie on a Luke Ertel 3-pointer and led the rest of the way — and by as much as 28 points — in a 66-44 rout of the Dragons at Mt. Vernon High School.

The 44-point output was New Palestine’s lowest of the season. The Marauders snapped the Dragons — ranked No. 12 in the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association poll — seven-game winning streak.

“I felt really good about how we competed,” Mt. Vernon head coach Joe Bradburn said. “We talked about being tough-minded …. We’ve been talking about that all year long. I thought our guys approached the game with that mindset tonight. The entire bench was into the game, which is a big help, as well. We played together as a team. It was a total team effort.”

Four Marauders scored in double figures and eight different player scored.

Sophomore guard Julien Smith and Elijah Parra had 14 points each. Parra, who comes off the bench, had all of his points in the middle two quarters, which included four 3-point field goals.

Ertel, another sophomore guard, scored 11 and junior guard Tanner Teschendorf added 10 points.

“Luke and [Julien] generate a lot of things because they can get to the basket and that helps,” Bradburn said. “They’re starting to figure out how to spread the wealth a little bit and we’re moving the ball better.”

The game was the 91st meeting between the two rivals. New Palestine won twice last year, taking the regular-season matchup at New Pal and then defeating the Marauders in the sectional championship game at Muncie Fieldhouse. Mt. Vernon’s last win prior to Tuesday was a sectional championship game win in 2022.

Mt. Vernon leads the all-time series 55-36.

Game No. 92 comes next Tuesday at Greenfield-Central, the first game of the Class 4A Sectional 9 tournament.

New Palestine junior Julius Gizzi, the state’s leading scorer at 30.5 points per game, led the Dragons with 27 points, including 11 of 12 at the free-throw line, but the rest of the team scored just 17 points.

The Dragons, for the second straight game, played without three-year starter Ben Slagley, out with an injury.

“We’re going to watch the film and figure out where it went wrong,” New Palestine coach Trent Whitaker said. “I don’t know if we can makeup 22 points in a week, but if anyone can do it, it’s our kids. They’re resilient and are going to battle back and not give up. We’re going to put on the best show we can on Tuesday and if they get us again, they get us again.

“[Slagley] wasn’t here, no excuses. [The] kids didn’t play well without him. We’ve got to figure out how to play without him.”

“We knew they were a guy down tonight,” Bradburn added. “And, they’re going to make a few adjustments. As far as for tonight, we played consistent. More than anything, we talk about playing every possession. I thought, the overall scope of the game, it was one of our better games of the year because we played every possession with purpose and passion.”

New Palestine dropped to 18-5 overall and finished Hoosier Heritage Conference play 5-2.

The Dragons finish the regular season Friday at Greenwood.

The Marauders have won four in a row and are 14-8 overall and 5-1 in the HHC. Their final regular season game is also a conference game, at Yorktown, Friday. If the Marauders win they will finish second in the league behind unbeaten Greenfield-Central.

“It was good tonight, but we know we have to see them a week from now and we have to figure out how to keep the same formula,” Bradburn added.

Mt. Vernon 66, New Palestine 44

New Palestine;10;9;13;12;—;44

Mt. Vernon;16;16;24;10;—;66

New Palestine (18-5, 5-2): Brady Armstrong 1 0-0 2, Moses Haynes 2 2-3 8, Keagan Harrison 0 0-2 0, Julius Gizzi 8 11-12 27, Austin McMahan 0 0-0 0, Evan Darrah 1 0-0 3, Alex Guhl 1 0-0 2, Rigg Mahurin 0 0-0 0, Landon Seib 0 0-0 0, Axtyn Hamblen 1 0-0 2, Evan Study 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 13-15 44.

Mt. Vernon (14-8, 5-1): Luke Ertel 3 4-4 11, Julien Smith 4 4-5 14, Brady Fitzgerald 1 0-0 3 Tanner Teschendorf 4 2-4 10, Tyler Davis 2 0-2 4, Max Vise 0 0-0 0, Elijah Parra 4 2-2 14, Charlie Cross 0 0-0 0, Aden Daugherty 2 2-2 6, R’mani Wells 2 0-0 4, Jack Guerre 0 0-0 0, Ryker Baer 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 14-19 66.

3-point goals: New Palestine 3 (Haynes 2, Darrah). Mt. Vernon 8 (Parra 4, Smith 2, Ertel, Fitzgerald)