By Rob Deweese
For The Republic
HOPE — The Dragons of New Palestine came out breathing fire in Hope Saturday night, burning Hauser early and often en route to an 81-47 drubbing.
In the first quarter alone, New Palestine sank four 3-point baskets. Even when they were fouled from behind the arc, the ball found its way into the basket, as evidenced by the Matthew True, who nailed a three while being fouled. His subsequent free throw to complete the four-point play gave the Dragons an early 12-2 just 3:30 into the game.
The Jets were able to trim the lead to 19-11 by the end of the first quarter. Justin Compton kept them afloat, scoring eight points in the quarter.
The next quarter did nothing to cool off the Dragons, who continued the offensive onslaught. After Hauser was able to get four quick points inside from Alex Gross, New Palestine answered from the outside.
A 3-pointer by Gavin Hausz, followed by two Jets turnovers and back-to-back 3s by True extended the lead to 14 in the blink of an eye. An offensive rebound off of a missed free throw rounded out the scoring in the first half, with the Dragons holding a commanding 39-22 lead.
New Palestine was equally deadly from behind the arc as they were from in close. The Dragons ended the half with seven 2-point field goals and seven 3-point field goals. Meanwhile, Hauser had trouble getting anything going, with the Dragons containing Alex Gross, holding him to just four points.
Coming out of the locker room, New Palestine (3-4) did not let up. The Dragons were able to get the ball inside enough to pick up a third foul on Gross, sending him to the bench just two minutes into the second half.
With Gross out of the game, New Palestine continued to attack the paint at will. The Dragons upped their lead to 49-21 with 3:22 left in the third quarter. Even though Hauser coach Griff Roth put Gross back in, New Palestine was able to increase its lead to 59-35 by the end of the quarter.
Although the Jets (4-4) were able to find Gross on the inside for six quick points, they continued to struggle offensively in the fourth quarter, committing several turnovers and giving up offensive rebounds. A steal and three-point play by Max Gizzi increased the Dragons’ lead to 75-45. A Luke Ramsey 3-point shot with 45 seconds remaining rounded out the scoring for the Dragons.
Hauser played without point guard Mason Sherman.
Roth was not very pleased with his team’s mentality.
“We have to be tougher mentally and physically. We knew they were a really good club. We watched film and knew what was coming,” he said. “They were just more physical than us and we didn’t match that tonight. They were more aggressive and able to take us out of our game. We just need to be tougher mentally.”
Gross led the Jets with 13 points. Compton added 11.