Spartans deal Royals first MHC loss of season

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CHARLOTTESVILLE — If the Eastern Hancock girls basketball team was looking for a postseason warm-up, it couldn’t have asked for more than the challenge Class A No. 2 Southwestern presented Wednesday. 

With a pair of career 1,000-point scorers and a 12-1 record, the Spartans served to provide the 2A No. 4 Royals with a state tourney litmus test.

Unfortunately for Eastern Hancock — just a few days before the IHSAA sectional draw — it earned a failing mark with a 70-59 loss.

Senior guard Annie Thomas torched Eastern Hancock (12-3) for 30 points, including eight in the first quarter as the visitors raced to a 12-0 lead. Thomas’ 3-pointer to end the quarter gave SW a 17-5 advantage. 

It was déjà vu for the Royals, who fell behind early in two other losses this season, to Lapel and Ritter.

“We’ve played four big games this year against four ranked teams,” said EH coach Jeremy Powers, including an EH win over Knightstown. “We’re 1-3 in those games. You can’t come out and get behind 17-5 against a very good Southwestern team. You can’t come out with no energy, flat, no confidence.

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