CHARLOTTESVILLE — For just a brief moment — a short flurry in the third quarter Friday night at Eastern Hancock — the Tri Titans could do no wrong.
That brief moment was enough to carry the Titans to a 56-50 boys basketball victory over Eastern Hancock.
The Titans used an 18-4 third-quarter run to break open what had been a close game, and the Royals would never get closer than five the rest of the way.
Corey Lowder led Tri with 16 points — nearly hitting his average — to lead three Titans in double-figures.
Cody Wallace had 13 points and eight boards for EH in the loss, despite battling foul trouble much of the night. He was the lone Royal in double-figures, but Garrett Lee had nine points and both Shane McCormick and Victor Vincz scored eight.
“Especially in the second half, Tri played with a little more intensity, and they played certainly to win the basketball game,” EH coach Aaron Spaulding said. “Give them credit for that. Lowder is a very good player. He did a nice job and they had some other kids step up and do a nice job. I don’t think we did a very good job tonight. Most of the time, that hasn’t been the case this year. I’ve been happy with our effort. Our focus and our effort tonight wasn’t what it needed to be.”
The loss stopped a two-game Royal winning streak and sent EH to a 4-12 record. Tri is 4-11 — the Titans’ most victories since 2006-07. It was Tri’s first victory over EH since 2005.
The key run came over the last 5:30 of the third quarter, as Tri scored on eight of its nine possessions, and reeled off 11 straight points in one stretch. It put the Titans up 45-32, and saw EH go 1-for-4 and have four turnovers.
Corey Lowder ignited the run with a 3-pointer that made it 30-28. EH’s Wallace answered that with his second straight putback, but the Titans would score the game’s next 11 points on five straight possessions — a putback by Riley Casteel, a 17-footer by Lowder, a 3-pointer and a layup by Gabriel Lopes and a putback by center Bryce Hoffman. The last seven of those points came off consecutive Royal turnovers.
Victor Vincz’s 10-footer stopped the run briefly, but Hoffman answered with a putback and the Titans turned another turnover into another hoop to go up 13.
Lopes scored seven of his 11 in that third-quarter run. Hoffman had 10.
Tri shot 55 percent for the game, including 14-of-24 in the second half. EH held a 31-25 rebounding edge — including 20 offensive rebounds — and forced 21 Titan turnovers. But the Royals were unable to take advantage of those extra opportunities, shooting 21-for-63 from the floor., including 11-of-34 after halftime.
EH ratcheted up the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter, and it nearly paid off, as the Royals were able to force several turnovers early in the period and cut Tri’s lead to 48-43. It came thanks to six points in the quarter by Shane McCormick and nine by Lee — but the Royals also had a handful of more opportunities fall short. The Titans answered that with a 6-0 run that staved off hopes of a comeback.
Lee and Isaiah McCormick were strong on the glass — Lee had seven boards and Isaiah McCormick six, including five on the offensive end.
“We did some things that could’ve got us back in the game, but we put ourselves in that hole,” Spaulding said. We’ve got to do a better job of being ready.
“Every year, it seems you have one stinker of a game. Hopefully, we got that out of the way tonight.”
The Royals return to Mid-Hoosier Conference play Thursday at home against Hauser.
Tri 56, Eastern Hancock 50
TR — Proctor 4 0-0 8, B.Casteel 2 0-1 4, Hoffman 5 0-0 10, Lowder 6 1-2 16, R.Casteel 2 3-4 7, Lopes 5 0-0 11, Sample 0 0-0 0, Williams 0 0-0 0. Totals — 24-44 4-7 56.
EH — Lee 4-7 0-0 9, S.McCormick 4-13 0-1 8, Wallace 6-10 1-2 13, Vincz 3-12 2-2 8, I.McCormick 1-6 0-0 3, Gilbert 1-3 1-2 3, Noel 0-6 0-0 0, Fout 2-3 0-0 6, Henderson 0-3 0-0 0. Totals —21-63 4-7 50.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
TR (4-11) 9 14 22 11 — 56
EH (4-12) 8 17 8 17 — 50
Three-pt. field goals: T 4-9 (Lowder 3, Lopes 2), EH 4-17 (Fout 2-3, I.McCormick 1-5, Lee 1-2, Vincz 0-4, Henderson 0-2, S.McCormick 0-1).
Rebounds: TR 25, EH 31 (Wallace 8, Lee 7, I.McCormick 6, Noel 4, Henderson 2, S.McCormick 2, Fout 1, Gilbert 1). Assists: TR 9, EH 9 (Vincz 5, Wallace 2, Noel 2). Steals: TR 9, EH 15 (Vincz 4, I.McCormick 3, Wallace 2, Lee 2, Noel 2, Gilbert 1, S.McCormick 1). Blocks: TR 0, EH 1 (Lee). Total fouls: TR 11, EH 14. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: TR 21, EH 15.
Eastern Hancock 78, Tri 26