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GBB: Dragons' comeback falls short

February 15, 2014
By Andrew Smith of New Palestine High School

New Palestine furiously rallied from a 12-point fourth quarter deficit to take a lead in the final minute, but eventually dropped a 39-38 decision to Greenwood in the semifinals of the Whiteland sectional.

The Dragons trailed 33-21 with six minutes left when they drew an offensive foul and touched off a 17-4 run that put them into the lead.

Gia Nitschke hit a second-chance basket. The Dragons forced a turnover and a missed shot, and answered with a free throw by Emma Laughlin and a 3-pointer by Haley Stratman that cut the deficit to 33-27 at the midpoint of the fourth quarter. Greenwood hit four free throws, but Laughlin and Natalie Kehrt answered each with a runner and a 3-pointer, cutting the deficit to 37-32.

After forcing another miss, Kehrt hit a driving shot to cut the deficit to three, and then Katlyn Keele forced a turnover with 1:45 left. On the ensuing possession, Raegan McMurray fed Haley Stratman in the corner for a four-point play -- Stratman buried a 3-pointer, drew a foul and hit the free throw to put NP up 38-37, the Dragons' first lead of the game.

Greenwood's Holly Hoopingarner hit a contested pull-up jumper with 53 seconds left to give the Woodmen the lead back at 39-38. NP had a shot to win on the final possession, but it was heavily defended in the paint, allowing Greenwood to survive.

The Dragons shot 52 percent in the second half after going 1-16 in the opening half. Kehrt led the Dragons with 11 points, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. Stratman hit two 3-pointers and scored eight points. Laughlin scored five, while McMurray and Carly Hackler scored four each. MMurray also had three assists, Keele had six rebounds and two steals, and Hackler and Kehrt had five boards each.

Sarah McLeod led Greenwood with 12 points.

The Dragons finished their season with a 9-11 record, tripling last season's win total.

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