KNIGHTSTOWN – Eastern Hancock’s seniors met at the top of the 3-point line. Locking their arms for a emotional hug while slightly losing their balance, Kaysi Gilbert, Peyton West and Emiley Carlton had plenty of reason to celebrate.
Controlling the pace from start to finish, Eastern Hancock used a collective effort to knock off top-ranked Triton Central on Saturday for the Class 2A Sectional 42 title. Eight Royals scored at least two points in the 57-50 win, led by Carlton’s 16.
West led the team with eight rebounds, while Gilbert added eight points in the senior classes’ first win over the Tigers in four attempts dating back to last season.
Last year, Triton Central (23-2) edged Eastern Hancock (14-10) by two points for the sectional crown. Earlier this season, the Tigers topped the Royals 52-35.
On Saturday, however, it was a completely different story. The Royals led after each quarter and held a 10-point advantage heading into the final period.
“We came out with the mindset that we didn’t care who (Triton Central) was,” West said. “Losing to them last year really hurt us. But tonight, we came out like no one was going to beat us.
“The No. 1 thing we wrote on the (pregame) board was tempo. We wanted to come out ready to play.”
For the game, Eastern Hancock finished 24 of 51 from the field, while Triton Central was 18-for-45. The Tigers committed 19 turnovers, though, and missed 10 shots at the foul line.
Sophomore Haley Best added 11 points, including three 3-pointers, while junior Bailey Allen finished with 12 points. Sophomore Jenna Smith collected seven rebounds.
The Tigers were led by Maya Chandler, who finished with 19 points. Courtney Ramyer added 17.
The Royals now move on to play South Putnam (15-10) in the Speedway Regional at noon Saturday. In the first semifinal that afternoon, Winchester Community (20-5) plays Covenant Christian (14-9).
Read Tuesday’s Daily Reporter for more on the Royals’ sectional championship victory.