Eastern Hancock erupts in second half to top Golden Eagles

CHARLOTTESVILLE — It took a few minutes for the Eastern Hancock Royals to get on track Tuesday night — 16 minutes in fact. After scoring only 13 points in the first half, the Royals powered to 28 second-half points for a 41-20 victory against Cambridge City to improve its record to 9-5.

With four minutes gone in the first quarter, the Royals led the visiting Eagles 2-1, and only led 6-5 at the end of the period. A combination of an unexpected defense and cold shooting plagued the Royals in the first half.

“They came out in a 2-3 zone, and that kind of shut us down,” Royals coach Shari Doud said. “But we just made a few adjustments at halftime and came out and played like I knew we could.”

The Royals’ leading scorers, Haley Best and Jenna Smith, did the same Tuesday night with nine and eight points, respectively.

However, two subs shone through in the second half to display the Royals’ depth.

Sophomore Lexi Lewman and freshman Chloe O’Neal came off the bench to provide needed energy and effort to help the team get out of its first-half slump. Lewman would finish with seven points and eight rebounds while O’Neal chipped in with six and four.

“Chloe (O’Neal) is just a great kid who does whatever is asked of her,” Doud said.

“And Lexi (Lewman) has been injured this year and she’s finally getting back to where I think she can be a great player for us going forward.”

Despite the 1-point halftime lead, the Royals opened up the third quarter with a 6-0 run that provided enough cushion to see out the rest of the game, as the Eagles were held to only two points in the fourth quarter.

The Royals will get a chance for their 10th win of the season Thursday night as they host Blue River Valley at 7:30 p.m.