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Offseason Hoops Update: EH boys faced stiff summer opposition

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CHARLOTTESVILLE — When the Eastern Hancock boys basketball team opens its 2014-15 season Nov. 26 at Centerville, Aaron Spaulding will begin his 16th season coaching the Royals.

“It goes quick,” Spaulding said with a laugh.

The summer also moves briskly for high school basketball teams in Indiana, and EH had a full schedule in June.

The Royals attended the Super Hoops camp at Indiana Wesleyan from June 27-29, going up against the likes of Barr-Reeve (2013-14 Class A semistate champ), defending Class A regional champion Clay City and Hagerstown Sectional title-holder Northeastern. They played 11 games in three days.

“The competition is really, really good,” said Spaulding, who is 171-160 at EH following a 16-6 campaign last winter. “That’s why we go there. It really pushes us and let’s us know where we’re at. It’s a good camp for us.”

Spaulding’s hoopsters also attended the Wabash Shootout at Wabash College on June 20. There, the Royals faced Benton Central, Knightstown, Southmont and teams from Illinois. They finished 4-2.

“It was a good day,” said Spaulding, who admitted Knightstown got the better of his shorthanded squad. “We started at 9 a.m., played all day and went home exhausted.”

The blue and white also took part in games at Knightstown’s Hoosier Gym on June 8. With many of his players involved in other sports, Spaulding doesn’t place an emphasis on winning during the summer.

“We’re looking for combinations of players and how they play together. If we’re moving a kid to a different spot, we want to see how he responds,” Spaulding said. “We have new things we’re trying, and we don’t want to have to experiment when the games matter. We can experiment during the summer.”

Eastern Hancock is building off a strong 16-6 campaign this past winter, one that saw them recover impressively from an injury-plagued 6-15 season in 2012-13. Spaulding was proud of the fact that his team did well in close games – the Royals were 7-2 in games decided by six points or less – and took care of the ball.

“We did a real good job of finding ways to win,” Spaulding said. “We could’ve had several games that went the other way.”

This year’s team will play the same regular-season slate as the 2013-14 unit plus added games against 2A schools  Frankton and Lapel. The IHSAA is allowing schools to schedule 22 regular-season games if they do not play in an in-season tournament.

“Frankton and Lapel used to be on our schedule. But when we joined the Mid-Hoosier Conference, we had to drop some people. Those are schools that we have good rivalries with and they’ve been good games. They’re in relatively close proximity to us as well,” Spaulding said. “As far as a tournament, with multiple kids playing three sports, we’re trying to give them a bit of a break over Christmas break. We don’t have to get ready for a county tournament, so we wanted to do that.”

2014 seniors Dustin Davidson, Garrett Hancock, Isaiah McCormick and Caleb Wallen have moved on, but a strong foundation remains in place with varsity holdovers Tom Barton, Cole Fout, Cooper Henderson, Derrik Noel and Logan Splater.

“We did lose four seniors who definitely played a good role for us over the course of their careers,” Spaulding said. “We gotta have kids step up and fill their spots. We have a good nucleus back.”

Austin Lacy, Ryan Speas and Bryce Spegal are among the JV players who will see an uptick in varsity minutes. Freshman Addison True could also see some time with Spaulding’s squad.

One of the rule changes in effect for the upcoming season is that during free throws, players along the lane will be allowed to move into the lane when the ball is released by the foul shooter. Previously, players had to wait until the ball touched the hoop or backboard to enter the painted area.

“That’s how it was played when I was in high school,” said Spaulding, a Warren Central product. “I like this rule better.”


>> Tentative 2014-15 Eastern Hancock boys basketball schedule:

Date Opponent Time

Nov. 26 at Centerville {2A} 7:30 pm 

Dec. 5 Southwestern (Shelbyville) {1A}‡ 7:30 pm 

Dec. 12 at Northeastern {2A} 7:30 pm 

Dec. 13 Anderson Prep Academy {} 7:30 pm 

Dec. 19 at Knightstown {2A}‡ 7:30 pm 

Dec. 20 Cambridge City Lincoln {2A} 7:30 pm 

Dec. 30 at Frankton {2A} 7:30 pm 

Jan. 3 North Decatur {2A}‡ 7:30 pm 

Jan. 9 Muncie Burris {2A} 7:30 pm 

Jan. 10 at Oldenburg Academy {1A} 7:30 pm 

Jan. 16 at Waldron {1A}‡ 7:30 pm 

Jan. 17 at Union County {2A} 7:30 pm 

Jan. 23 South Decatur {1A}‡ 7:30 pm 

Jan. 24 at Shenandoah {2A} 7:30 pm 

Jan. 31 Greenfield-Central {4A} 7:30 pm 

Feb. 6 Tri {1A} 7:30 pm 

Feb. 7 at Lapel {2A} 7:30 pm 

Feb. 12 Hauser {1A}‡ 7:30 pm 

Feb. 14 at Indian Creek {3A}‡ 3:00 pm 

Feb. 17 at Edinburgh {1A}‡ 7:30 pm 

Feb. 20 Morristown {1A}‡ 7:30 pm 

Feb. 27 at Hagerstown {2A} 7:30 pm 


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