For Daily Reporter

CHARLOTTESVILLE — It was a celebratory kind of evening for the Eastern Hancock Royals girls basketball program Thursday night. In defeating Daleville 47-29, the Royals celebrated its two graduating seniors, Bailey Allen and Libby Durham, and watched as junior Haley Best set the career 3-pointer record.

The Royals lead from the get-go, as they started the game on a 15-2 run and did not allow a field goal until five minutes remained in the second quarter.

Near the end of the second quarter, Best pulled up from the top of the key and drilled her fourth 3-pointer of the half and 134th of her career.

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Royals coach Shari Doud called a timeout to celebrate the moment.

“Believe it or not, we’ve actually been telling Haley to shoot more threes this year,” Doud said.

“She’s had to play point guard this year, so she hasn’t been looking to shoot as much as in year’s past, but she came out with a purpose tonight to get that record.”

By the end of the half, Daleville had only made two field goals and the Royals had a commanding 32-11 lead.

“Sometimes a big lead leads to a lack of focus in the second half, and I think we came out a bit sloppy in the third quarter,” Doud said.

Even though they weren’t clicking on offense, the Royals defense ensured Daleville would never seriously challenge the lead. Instead, Doud was able to call a timeout to allow her two seniors to be subbed out and receive an ovation from the crowd. Durham and Allen finished with nine and seven points, respectively.

“Those two girls have been great leaders for us this year,” Doud said. “Bailey is more of our vocal leader and Libby leads more by example.”

The win improves the Royals record to 13-7, and they next take the court at Randolph Southern on Tuesday night. As the season winds down, Doud is liking where her team is headed.

“I’d still like us to work on having longer stretches of solid play, but compared to where we were at our first practice, I think we’re nearing top form,” she said.