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EH girls end losing skid vs. Knightstown


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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.”

Knightstown finished 14-of-43 (33 percent) from the field and 11-of-30 (37 percent) from the free throw line, including 3-of-13 (23 percent) from the field and 0-of-3 at the charity stripe in the key third quarter.

Each squad committed 26 fouls, but four Knightstown starters fouled out in the fourth quarter, while all of Eastern Hancock’s players were available throughout. EH finished slightly better at the free throw line than the Panthers, going 17-of-31 (54 percent).

Kiersten Schrope (14 points, seven rebounds, five assists, five steals) paced the Royals with help from Kaytlin Eastes (12 points), Hannah Best (eight points) and Kristin Eischen (five points, 10 rebounds), Lauren Harmon (five points) and Skyler Overleese (five points).

For the Panthers, Emily Thomas had 11 points — five below her season average. And Jill Gross had two points — 10 below her normal tally. Both girls fouled out.

“I credit that to our defense and to our girls, believing in the system that we put in and what we want to do to get better. We’ve done a good job since the North Decatur game (a 61-45 loss Dec. 4) of talking about what we want to do. So we’ve changed the way do some things in our practices and you’re starting to see it now.

“We did a good job on Thomas and Gross and that will be a good trend for us as we starting heading into the later part of season.”

Having won seven of their first 10 games, the Royals are in similar position to last season, when they opened 8-2 on their way a 12-9 mark and their first winning season since 2003-04.

The Royals, who beat previously undefeated and 2A No. 10 Lapel Tuesday, will try to stay on track at common sectional foe Cambridge City Lincoln (4-4) this Tuesday.

“I’m so proud of these girls because of how much they’ve built this program up in a short amount of time, how they put themselves in a position now to be successful,” Powers said. “You beat an undefeated ranked team Tuesday night and come in here Friday night and beat a rival; it’s got to do nothing but boost our confidence.”

Knightstown, which will host Eastern Hancock and CCL in 2A Sectional 41 in early February, will host Tri (6-3) Tuesday.

Friday’s game marked the final non-conference regular season matchup between Knightstown and Eastern Hancock for the foreseeable future. Currently an independent, the Panthers will join EH in the Mid-Hoosier Conference beginning next season.  The Royals are in their first year in the MHC.

GIRLS VARSITY

Eastern Hancock 51, Knightstown 42

EH — Schrope 5-12 4-6 14, Dickey 0-1 0-0 0, Eischen 1-6 3-10 5, Eastes 4-9 4-6 12, Best 3-7 0-0 8, Harmon 1-8 3-4 5, Marshall 0-1 0-0 0, Overleese 2-7 1-1 5, Neisler 0-4 1-2 1, Mourey 0-3 1-2 1, Spaulding 0-1 0-0 0. Totals — 16-59 17-31 51.

KN — Gross 1-8 0-1 2, Hammer 0-2 3-5 3, Fowler 0-1 0-0 0, Biehl 3-5 2-4 10, McDowell 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 2-8 0-6 5, Burton 4-6 1-4 9, E. Thomas 3-10 5-10 11, L. Thomas 0-2 0-0 0, H. Thomas 1-1 0-0 2. Totals — 14-43 11-30 42.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

EH (7-3) 11 9 14 17 — 51

KN (6-4) 9 9 8 16 — 42

Three-pt. field goals: EH 2-11 (Schrope 0-1, Best 2-3, Harmon 0-2, Overleese 0-2, Mourey 0-2, Spaulding 0-1), KN 3-7 (Biehl 2-4, Jones 1-2, L. Thomas 0-1).

Rebounds: EH 33 (Schrope 7, Dickey 1, Eischen 10, Eastes 4, Harmon 1, Marshall 3, Overleese 1, Neisler 5, Mourey 1), KN 34 (Gross 6, Hammer 3, Fowler 3, Biehl 3, McDowell 2, Jones 1, Burton 8, E. Thomas 8). Assists: EH 8 (Schrope 5, Best 2, Harmon 1), KN 5 (Gross 1, Hammer 1, Jones 2, L. Thomas 1). Steals: EH 23 (Schrope 5, Eischen 2, Eastes 3, Best 5, Harmon 1, Marshall 4, Overleese 1, Mourey 2), KN 11 (Gross 2, Biehl 4, Jones 2, Burton 1, E. Thomas 1, L. Thomas 1). Blocks: EH 4 (Schrope 1, Best 1, Harmon 1), KN 4 (Biehl 3, Burton 1). Total fouls: EH 26, KN 26. Fouled out: Gross, Hammer, Jones, E. Thomas (KN). Turnovers: EH 35, KN 47.

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