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BBB: Buzzer-beater downs Dragons

February 16, 2014
By Andrew Smith of New Palestine High School

New Palestine dropped a 45-42 decision to Connersville at the last second Saturday afternoon.

Connersville's Tyler Billups hit a 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer to give the Spartans the victory and send the Dragons to their second straight loss. 

NP fell to 8-9 on the season full of nail-biters. It was the Dragons' third loss in a game decided by five points or less.

On the final possession, the Dragons deflected three passes, but Connersville was able to retain possession and found Billups in the corner on a broken play. The Spartans were 9-14 from 3-point range, including 4-5 from Billups and 5-7 from teammate Ty Miller. As a team, Connersville was 14-26 from the floor.

New Palestine took a 22-19 lead into halftime, using a 9-0 run to take a 19-16 advantage, and pushed the lead to 34-26 in the late stages of the third quarter, using a defense that forced 12 Spartan turnovers and two 3-pointers from Ryan Curry. Miller and Billups' 3-point shooting brought the Spartans back into the game.

NP led 40-39 late in the fourth quarter and had possession in the final 90 seconds when Connersville forced a turnover and, in the scramble for the loose ball, a foul in the backcourt was called on NP. Connersville hit both free throws to take a 41-40 lead. NP missed on the next possession, and had to foul intentionally, leading to one more point for the Spartans. Samson Haynes answered with a drive that led to two free throws, tying the game at 42-42, setting the stage for the Spartans' final possession.

Curry scored 11 points to lead the Dragons, hitting 4-8 from the floor. He also had two rebounds and two steals. Connor Roach had 10 points on 4-6 shooting. Brandon Jonas and Kevin Riley had six points each, while Haynes had four points, four assists and two steals. Seth Cox had a team-high six rebounds, as well as two assists.

NP shot 15-31 from the foor (48 percent), including 6-16 from 3-point range and a perfect 6-6 from the lline. Connersville was 8-14 from the stripe.

The Dragons next play Friday at Mt. Vernon, then return home Saturday to host Whiteland on Senior Night.

The Dragon JV won 41-32.

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