Runaway Ritter

CHARLOTTESVILLE — Emiley Carlton is just happy it’s over. The Eastern Hancock senior forward isn’t one who thoroughly enjoys the spotlight.

As a starter the last three seasons, however, she’s gotten used to it. There was more reason to celebrate Carlton’s basketball success on Tuesday, too, as she became the 20th girl in Hancock County history to net 1,000 points.

Needing just 14 points entering the game, Carlton connected on an and-1 midway through the third quarter to reach the coveted milestone. She finished with 14 points in the game, but the Royals could not overcome a 19-0 second-half surge from visiting Ritter, losing 68-47 after leading 27-26 at halftime.

Now, Carlton is just the third girl in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark. The last female to do it for the Royals was Andrea Engleking, who scored 1,164 career points, in 2001.

“My parents were like we’re going to do this and this (when I reach 1,000),” Carlton said, holding a celebratory cake after the game. “I was like ‘guys you can’t do that if I don’t end up getting it and choking.’

“I told the team before the game, when I hit it, I am going to cry. All my emotions came out, I was excited and overwhelmed.”

Eastern Hancock (11-10) junior Bailey Allen also reached double figures on Tuesday, finishing with 11 points. She nailed three 3-pointers in the loss. Sophomore guard Haley Best added 10 points for the Royals.

For Ritter (14-9), which outscored the home team 26-8 in the fourth quarter, senior point guard Abby Downard finished with a game-high 28 points.

“We are a team of runs and when we have a power outage (offensive struggle) like that, it is hard for us to get into our full court stuff,” Royals head coach Andy Meneely said. “We started losing track of cutters and shooters and didn’t communicate as well.

“It is always huge (reaching 1,000 points). You have to appreciate someone like Carlton who has that kind of talent and has put in the work.”

Holding a one-point lead, Eastern Hancock came out of the locker room strong, leading 39-34 near the end of the third quarter. From there, though, the Royals offensive sputtered and was outscored 34-8 the rest of the game.

Ritter, which shot 23 of 48 from the field on Tuesday, was six of eight in the fourth quarter. It also hit its free throws down the stretch to finish 14-for-20 for the evening.

Carlton, who is currently deciding between two schools for college basketball, led the Royals with nine points at the break and Allen had eight. Sophomore Jenna Smith came off the bench to score six points and grab four rebounds in the opening half.

Eastern Hancock finished the first half 10 of 24 from the field, while Ritter shot 10-for-27.

Also for the Royals, who finished the game shooting 18 of 47 from the field, senior forward Peyton West added four points and four rebounds.

Eastern Hancock wraps up its regular season on Thursday at home against Tri. It will also be Senior Night for the team.

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Kris Mills is a sports reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3230 or