Dragons fend off Woodmen

For the Daily Journal

For one half, the New Palestine girls basketball team patiently waited for its shooting game to come through and take the game over.

Their patience was rewarded in the third quarter, as senior Emma Grable hit on all three of her 3-point shots and the Dragons shot a blistering 85 percent in the period to take control and beat host Greenwood 67-53 on Wednesday night.

Grable led all scorers with 16 points.

Counting last January’s sectional contest, it was the second straight win for the Dragons against the Woodmen.

More important for first-year coach Sarah Gizzi, it made the Dragons 2-0 on the young season, while dropping the Woodmen to 2-1 and giving first-year Greenwood coach Bill Torgerson his first loss.

From the beginning, this had all the makings of another reasonably close game for both teams.

New Palestine was coming off a four-point win in its season-opener against Connersville, while the Woodmen won by 10 against Bloomington North and six against Greenfield-Central.

The Woodmen were trying to start the season 3-0 for the second time in three years.

It was a struggle for Greenwood early, as starting guard Bailee Taft picked up her third foul with 6:52 left in the second quarter and didn’t play the rest of the half.

That meant that Greenwood had to do some adjusting on who controlled the ball up the court.

“(Taft) makes the team go,” Torgerson said. “That was hard on us when she got in trouble, but we survived it in the first half.”

With Taft out, Greenwood had to rely on its 1-2 punch of junior Alex Kincaid and senior Leah Moore. That duo scored the bulk of the Woodmen’s points, but countering those two was the balanced scoring of the Dragons.

Up by three at the half, New Palestine had a run of near-perfect play in the third quarter to push the lead to 19 at one point.

Taft finally found her range in the fourth quarter for Greenwood, hitting a 3-pointer to cut the Dragons’ lead to nine at 62-53 with 1:05 to go, but by then it was too late.

“We let them creep in there at the end, and that’s something we need to work on,” Gizzi said.

New Palestine was mortal from the foul line, making just 10 of 21.

“We’re usually a better free-throw shooting team than that,” Gizzi said. “It didn’t hurt us tonight, but we need to do better.”

Joining Grable in double figures for the Dragons was Haley Harrison with 13 points. Katelyn Herron added 12 and Leah Seib had 10.

For Greenwood, senior Leah Moore had 15, while Alex Kincaid added 14. Taft, for all her troubles, ended up with 11.

Greenwood tries to make it 3-1 on Saturday as it travels to Indianapolis Herron. New Palestine also will be on the road Saturday, this time at Southport.

Author photo
Ken Severson is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.