CHARLOTTESVILLE — The message before Saturday night’s game for the Eastern Hancock boys basketball team was a clear one: Continue to battle and something good will happen.
Fortunately for coach Aaron Spaulding, the Royals heeded the message, battled for four quarters and sent a huge ripple through Sectional 42 by knocking off previously undefeated and potential postseason foe Shenandoah 63-57.
The Royals improved to 4-9 on the season with the win.
“We needed that. We came in at 3-9 and had four games where we had the lead with two minutes left and they didn’t go our way,” Spaulding said. “We told the kids to continue to battle, continue to work hard and something good would happen. We played to win, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
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Trailing 14-13 after the first quarter, Eastern Hancock responded by taking a 26-25 lead at the half. The lead would grow in the early moments of the third quarter as the Royals opened on a 7-2 run.
A basket and free throw by Addison True would push the lead to 43-33, but Shenandoah (13-1) refused to go away down the stretch.
With less than four minutes to play, Braydin Myers drilled a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 53-50, but Eastern Hancock was able to cement the win at the free-throw line.
“We did a good job and maintained our composure. Games like this will pay off for us later in the season. Our goal is to compete for a sectional title, and I feel this game gives us confidence that we can be part of the mix,” Spaulding said.
Leading the way for the Royals were True and A.J. Muegge, who each finished with 15. Ryan Speas chipped in with 14, while Tom Barton added 11 in the win.
Gavin Griggs led the way for Shenandoah with 24 points, while Myers added 25 in the loss.