For The Daily Reporter
INDIANAPOLIS — Maintaining focus was the key component for the Eastern Hancock Royals girls basketball team Friday night.
In a game where they were expected to win, and win by a lot, the Royals kept their edge and routed the Irvington Prep Academy Ravens 67-10 to improve to 4-0.
“We addressed that before the game started,” Royals coach Shari Doud stated. “We knew going in that we were a heavy favorite, so basically my goal for my team was to play respectful basketball.”
While the score looks lopsided, the Royals did play respectful basketball, and it was obvious that they were working on pieces to their game instead of running up the score. Doud was adamant that her players come out and play like they were the underdogs.
“Every possession, every second that ticks off the clock, you’re playing as though you’re playing the best team on your schedule,” she continued. “Always be respectful, and I thought they did a nice job of that.”
All players dressed to play for the Royals saw some playing time, but it was Emily Carlton who led the team in scoring. Her hard-fought 13 points came in the paint against the Ravens’ zone defense and had to earn most of her points from the free-throw line.
Though able to move the ball around effectively, the Royals struggled at times against the zone and coughed up the ball multiple times.
They got it figured out in the second half when most of the reserve players took to the court for extended minutes, and Doud said that they don’t practice against too much zone defense, so attacking it was key on Friday.
“We spend a lot of time working man-to-man in practice,” Doud remarked. “Three of the four teams we’ve faced have played zone, so we’re getting our practice in.”
Coming off the bench, Liberty Durham made her presence felt with 12 points. She and the rest of the Royals reserves made it look easy scoring in bunches in transition. Durham was also great on the glass grabbing a team-high six rebounds.
Doud was extremely impressed with the play of her bench players and knows that she can rely on them at any time.
“We have a great problem in this program, and it’s called depth,” Doud joked. “Really those ‘reserves’ are varsity-level players, and it showed tonight.”
The Royals will squeeze in one more game before their Thanksgiving break.
They’ll host Union County, the team that knocked the Royals out of the sectional tournament last season, tonight at 7:30 p.m.