Royals down Patriots in triple overtime

CHARLOTTESVILLE — What was the busiest day for basketball ever at Eastern Hancock became even more so late Saturday afternoon.

The EH and Union County boys teams took the fourth of five games on the card to three overtimes, before the Royals prevailed over the Class 2A-No. 8 Patriots 78-74.

Fourteen 3-point baskets — six each by Isaiah McCormick and Garrett Hancock — went a long way toward EH (11-4) defeating a team it may face again in Sectional 41 at Hagerstown in two weeks.

McCormick ended with 24 points and Hancock 22, with the latter’s final triple putting the Royals ahead to stay.

“They hit a lot of big shots,” EH coach Aaron Spaulding said. “Every time we needed something, they would hit a big shot. Those kids are seniors and that’s what you expect your seniors to do, step up and make those types of plays in big games.”

The Royals got out of a nine-point hole from late in the first half and the teams exchanged the lead five times in the fourth quarter, the last being McCormick’s sixth three, with 24 seconds to go.

UC’s Kory Finch connected on a spinning runner around McCormick for the first of what would be two buzzer-beaters.

In the first OT, Hancock erased a 61-56 Patriot lead by making a pair of threes, and Derrik Noel split two free throws late to make it 63-61.

But Finch again saved the game for the Patriots (13-3) by hitting a shot with his foot on the 3-point line, with time about to run out. Finch ended with 32 points and, like Hancock and McCormick, six treys.

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