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Only six deep, Royals turn back Spartans


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CHARLOTTESVILLE — Eastern Hancock boys basketball coaches keep a statistic that’s not in the box score, that tracks the team’s overall effectiveness.

It’s called “hustle points,” and it reflects loose balls, offensive rebounds, deflections, charges players take and hustle plays.

EH coach Aaron Spaulding said the Royals got eight more “hustle points” than Southwestern Saturday night, and that played a huge part in their 57-46 victory in their home opener

Not only was this the Royals’ first success of the season in three tries, this was the school’s maiden win as a Mid-Hoosier Conference member. EH is 1-1 in the MHC.

The Royals were only six-deep, but they never trailed. They built an 18-point cushion and turned back a late rally by the Spartans (1-2, 0-1 MHC).

“Our two main goals were to win the hustle points; we haven’t done that this year, and to outrebound them,” Spaulding said. “We hadn’t outrebounded anybody yet and we’re not that big.”

Six-foot junior sixth-man Spencer Gilbert brought down 12 boards and senior Cody Wallace, the Royals’ tallest player at 6-3, had 11. Their combined total was one more than Southwestern managed as a team. EH had 39 rebounds, 14 offensive.

Junior guard Garrett Hancock led all scorers with 20 points, including all four of the Royals’ three-point buckets. He, Wallace and Isaiah McCormick played all but two minutes.

Wallace scored 17, was 8-for-11 from the field and converted three rebounds into points.

EH ripped off 15 unanswered points over the final 5:39 of the first quarter and another two at the start of the second before the Spartans could score again, and the Royals were ahead 21-3.

The Royals led 26-10 at halftime and 35-24 at the third stop before Southwestern made it 42-38 midway through the final period. But a Hancock three and Wallace basket soon after got EH up nine, and the Spartans could only get as close as six after that.

“We’ve had some adversity with injuries and things of that nature and we gave ourselves a chance to win each game, but we came up a little bit short,” Spaulding said. “The good thing about tonight was we held on and found a way to win.”

EH played the perimeter tight and as a result forced the Spartans to put up 30 three-point tries, of which they made only six. Southwestern shot 33 percent overall against 46 percent for the Royals. EH also committed just 10 fouls and the Spartans in turn were only 2-for-5 at the line.

“We made some plays, we rebounded, defended well, found the open man and took care of the basketball and didn’t make any stupid decisions,” Spaulding said.

The Royals were still without last year’s leading scorer Victor Vincz (concussion) as well as key players Cooper Henderson and Shane McCormick.

Notes: This was Spaulding’s 150th career win, all at EH. He’s in his 14th season. ... Isaiah McCormick’s five assists led the Royals. ... EH won the JV game 37-25 behind Caleb Wallen’s 13 points. ... The Royals are at Northeastern Friday.VARSITY

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Eastern Hancock 57, Southwestern 46

   SW — Adkins 3-7 0-1 6, Laughlin 2-5 0-0 4, C. Veach 4-11 2-4 11, Messer 6-19 0-0 16, Rowe 4-14 0-0 9, Bond 0-1 0-0 0, H. Veach 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 19-57 2-5 46.

   EH — Wallace 8-11 1-1 17, Lee 2-6 1-3 5, McCormick 1-6 2-2 4, Hancock 6-12 4-4 20, Noel 2-7 3-5 7, Gilbert 2-4 0-0 4. Totals — 21-46 11-15 57.

   SCORE BY QUARTERS

   SW (1-2, 0-1) 3   7  14  22 — 46

   EH (1-2, 1-1)19  7   9   22 — 57

   Three-pt. field goals: SW 6-30 (Messer 4-12, C. Veach 1-7, Rowe 1-5, Adkins 0-3, Laughlin 0-2, Bond 0-1), EH 4-14 (Hancock 4-9, McCormick 0-3, Gilbert 0-1, Noel 0-1).

 Rebounds: SW 22 (Laughlin 7, C. Veach 4, Messer 4, Adkins 2, Rowe 2, Bond 1, Team 2), EH 39 (Gilbert 12, Wallace 11, Hancock 5, Noel 5, McCormick 4, Lee 2). Assists: SW 4 (Adkins 1, C. Veach 1, Laughlin 1, Rowe 1), EH 10 (McCormick 5, Lee 2, Noel 2, Gilbert 1). Steals: SW 7 (C. Veach 3, Messer 2, Rowe 2), EH 1 (McCormick 1). Blocked shots: EH 1 (Wallace 1). Total fouls: SW 16, EH 10. Fouled out: Adkins. Turnovers: SW 3, EH 13.

   JV

   Eastern Hancock 37, Southwestern 25

   EH — Wallen 13, Lacy 8, Splater 6, Spegal 4, Fout 3, Barton 2, Davidson 1.

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