KNIGHTSTOWN — It had been almost seven years since the Eastern Hancock girls basketball team beat Knightstown. Just ask Jeremy Powers.
“February 8, 2006, but I’m not keeping track,” Powers said with a smile Friday, after his Royals defeated rival Knightstown 51-42 to break a seven-game losing streak to their U.S. 40 neighbor.
“I believe at a certain point it had become a mental thing with these girls … so this is a huge confidence boost.”
Powers — in his second season at the EH helm — and his squad didn’t have the signature win in hand until midway through the third quarter. The Royals (7-3) had to survive a minefield of turnovers and fouls to expand on a 20-18 halftime lead.
In the second quarter, EH and Knightstown combined for a whopping 32 turnovers, and they finished with 82 total giveaways — 47 by the Panthers and 35 for the Royals.
It seemed whichever team could keep hold of the ball for two straight possessions would ultimately win. Eastern Hancock found a semblance of stability in the third quarter, with a mere seven turnovers, while the Panthers (6-4) continued on their sloppy pace with 12 miscues, and the Royals outscored the home team 14-6 in the third quarter to build an edge it held the rest of the way.
“Anytime you’ve got an Eastern Hancock-Knightstown game, you’re going to have probably more turnovers than you normally would,” Powers said. “In the first half, we didn’t play the type of basketball we have been playing all year. It was just not our basketball.
“But in the second half our defense picked it up, we started doing some things, adjusted a little bit and our pressure helped tremendously.”