The Lions hosted former conference foe New Palestine in Rushville home opener Saturday. It was a tight game for three quarters, but the Lions could not get over the hump and fell to the Dragons 72-62.
Both teams are now 1-1 on the young season.
Alex Yurack gave the Lions the early lead as he opened the scoring. A bucket by 7-footer Seth Cox knotted the game and the Dragons took the lead on the first of four Ryan Curry 3-pointers. A Kris Combs pass to Cameron Cox got the Lions back even at 7-7 and Rushville regained the lead on a 3-pointer by Bryce Dye. With the game tied at 11-11, Dye’s drive to the bucket put the Lions on top 13-11 after one quarter.
The teams traded the lead back-and-forth in the second quarter. A Ricky Thompson 3-pointer had the Lions up 16-13, but four straight from New Palestine’s Cox gave the Dragons the lead. Another bomb by Thompson later in the quarter started a barrage of triples. New Palestine’s Curry hit two straight from long range. Combs drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key before another Curry bomb gave the Dragons a 31-27 lead with 3:08 to play in the half.
The lead grew to eight for New Palestine as Brandon Jonas scored on consecutive possessions. Cox’s bucket closed the first half with the Lions trailing 38-32.
Rushville opened the second half with a 3-pointer from Nate Niehoff, but that was as close as the Lions could get in the quarter. New Palestine extended the lead to 10 before a free throw by Thompson, two free throws by Yurack and a Yurack steal and pass to Combs had the deficit down to six. A late offensive rebound and bucket by New Palestine’s Connor Roach pushed the lead to 53-45 after three quarters.