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Not Quite Ready: EH girls take step back in loss to Southwestern

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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.

“When that happens, you’ve got to battle back all night. Got to within six going into halftime; same story against Lapel and Ritter. We got it close at halftime and fell flat the rest of the game. We’ve got to figure it out. We’ve got to get it corrected before sectional.”

The sectional draw is Sunday, with the tourney beginning Feb. 11. EH will host 2A Sectional 41 this season, and it hopes to perform in the sectional as it did in its best quarter Wednesday.

Kiersten Schrope scored six of her team-high 19 points in the second quarter and the Royals closed within 31-25 at the break. Kristin Eischen opened the third quarter with a bucket for EH to make it a 31-27 contest, but back-to-back scores by Southwestern senior Taylor Eversole and a 3-pointer by Thomas wiped out the Royals’ momentum. The Spartans, who advanced to the Class A semistate last season, led 50-42 to end the third quarter and extended their lead down the stretch.

Thomas, Eversole (13 points) and six-foot-2 senior center Oda Shackelford (20 points, seven rebounds, six blocks, four assists) combined for all but seven of the Spartans’ total points. Thomas, bound for NCAA Division II Henderson State (Ark.), is Shelby County’s all-time leading scorer, passing Shelbyville graduate Gretchen Haehl earlier this month. Thomas has 1,512 points and Shackelford has 1,219 points.

“Annie’s good, that’s why she’s going to go play at Henderson State,” Powers said. “She’s a heck of a ballplayer and we had our hands full. We just didn’t do a good job of containing her. We just didn’t give ourselves the opportunity to keep her in front. And when that doesn’t happen, she’s going to get what she wants.”

For the Spartans, Schrope added a game-high 12 rebounds. Eischen finished with 13 points. Hannah Best and Shelby Mourey added eight points each for the Royals, who went 20-of-55 from the field, including 4-of-17 from long distance, and 15-of-22 from the free throw line. The Spartans made 23-of-56 shots from the field, including 5-of-10 3-pointers, and 19-of-23 free throws.

Southwestern’s winning effort put it in control of the Mid-Hoosier Conference as the lone MHC undefeated at 6-0, with Knightstown, Hauser and North Decatur left on the conference docket. Eastern Hancock fell to 6-1 in the MHC.

“Knightstown’s the only one that can give them a game,” said Powers, pointing to Panthers post Emily Thomas. “I think Emily can neutralize Oda, but they’ve got nobody to stop Annie. There’s not many teams going to be able to stop Annie this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if that team wins state this year. They’re that good. They’re very good, and we just didn’t play well first quarter.”



Southwestern 70, Eastern Hancock 59

SW — Shackelford 7-16 4-4 20, Thomas 9-20 9-9 30, Eversole 5-10 3-4 13, Kistler 0-4 0-0 0, Lux 0-1 0-0 0, Temple 0-2 3-6 3, Fix 0-1 0-0 0, Raymer 2-2 0-0 4. Totals — 23-56 19-23 70.

EH — Schrope 7-19 3-6 19, Shaw 0-0 3-4 3, Eischen 4-8 5-8 13, Best 3-8 0-0 8, Harmon 1-5 2-2 4, Marshall 0-2 2-2 2, Neisler 0-3 0-0 0, Mourey 4-8 0-0 8, Carlton 1-2 0-0 2. Totals — 20-55 15-22 59.


SW (13-1. 6-0 MHC) 17  14  19  20 — 70

EH (12-3, 6-1 MHC)    5  20  17  17 — 59

Three-pt. field goals: SW 5-10 (Shackelford 2-2, Thomas 3-7, Kistler 0-1), EH 4-17 (Schrope 2-7, Best 2-7, Harmon 0-2, Carlton 0-1).

Rebounds: SW 32 (Shackelford 7, Thomas 6, Eversole 4, Kistler 4, Temple 6, Fix 3, Raymer 2), EH 25 (Schrope 12, Shaw 5, Eischen 3, Harmon 2, Neisler 2, Mourey 1). Assists: SW 10 (Shackelford 4, Thomas 1, Eversole 1, Kistler 3, Temple 1), EH 6 (Schrope 3, Shaw 1, Best 1, Neisler 1). Steals: SW 11 (Shackelford 1, Thomas 4, Eversole 1, Kistler 3, Raymer 2), EH 7 (Schrope 4, Eischen 1, Harmon 1, Mourey 1). Blocks: SW 6 (Shackelford 6), EH 4 (Schrope 1, Shaw 2, Mourey 1). Total fouls: SW 20, EH 20. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: SW 21, EH 23.


Eastern Hancock 40, Southwestern 22

EH (13-1) — King 16, West 14. Gilbert 9 steals.

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