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Tuesday hoops: Dragons hold off Beech Grove 69-65

December 18, 2012
By Andrew Smith of Hancock County Sports

Boys basketball

New Palestine 69, Beech Grove 65: The Dragons used a strong start, with an 11-0 run in the opening quarter and a 14-0 run spanning the first and second quarters to build leads of 11-2, 25-10 and 33-15, but NP needed some late-game heroics from Solomon Haynes to stave off a late Hornet charge.

Beech Grove used a huge fourth-quarter run to tie the game at 58, but Haynes answered on the next possession with a driving layup that led to a three-point play, then hit a running 10-footer off the dribble to give the Dragons a five-point lead they'd never relinquish. Haynes scored eight of NP's last 11 points after the game was tied. He also iced the game with a steal and layup on the game's final possession when BG had a last chance to tie or take the lead.

He was one of five Dragons in double-figures, as Justin Ikerd scored 15 points and Brandon Jonas added a season-high 13 points to go along with six rebounds. Connor Roach eclipsed his recently-set career highs with 11 points and nine rebounds -- scoring all 11 in the second half. Ryan Curry had 11 first-half points, while Haynes added all 10 of his in the second half. Haynes also had three assists, three rebounds and four steals. Michael Morris was held in single-digits for the first time this season, talllying nine points, but also had nine rebounds.

The Dragons' strong early start was keyed by strong 3-point shooting -- Ikerd hit two, including a 50-footer at the end of the first quarter -- and Curry hit three in the second quarter.

BG shot 50 percent from the floor and hit 10 3-pointers -- including seven in the second-half comeback -- and was led by Joey Cardenas' 22 points. Kori Sublett ahd 15 points and nine rebounds. Sublett had his points in two spurts -- scoring the final seven points of the first half to cut the Dragons' 18-point lead to 33-22 at the half. Then, in the fourth quarter, he added eight points including a 3-pointer, and had three key offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive. Michael Jennings had seven assists.

NP shot 43 percent from the floor, but had 16 offensive rebounds, leading to several second-chance points.

NP built a 15-point lead in the third quarter again, but Caleb Chumbley hit a late triple for the Hornets, and then opened the fourth quarter with one. Cardenas and Sublett also hit fourth-quarter 3s to help the Hornets score 27 fourth-quarter points. They eventually tied it at 58 when Joe Pich came off the bench and scored eight quick points.

That's when Haynes drove from the top of the key and drew a foul on a successful lay-in with two and a half minutes left. After the Dragons forced a stop, Haynes scored again to make it a 63-58 game. NP hit free throws -- Haynes hit one, Ikerd hit 3-of-5 -- to go up 66-60 in the final 20 seconds. But BG's Cardenas hit a 3, and then Michael Jennings stole the inbounds pass and had a lay-in to make it a 66-65 game with 9.8 seconds left. Ikerd split two free throws to make it a two-point game, but as the Hornets were bringing the ball upcourt, Haynes poked the ball away from behind to Roach, who fed Haynes for a breakaway layup.

NP is now 6-2 on the season with its third consecutive game decided by four points or less. The Dragons next compete in the Dec. 27 Hancock County Tournament, with the 11:30 a.m. semifinal at Mt. Vernon. It will be broadcast live by HancockCountySports.com.

Beech Grove won the JV game 46-45. 

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