CHARLOTTESVILLE — Eastern Hancock’s boys basketball squad once again rained bombs Tuesday night.
Three days after sinking 14 3-pointers in a triple-overtime win over Union County, the Royals stunned Edinburgh with six treys in the first 6 1/2 minutes and two more before halftime.
The Royals’ main weapon, Isaiah McCormick, though, saved his best for later on.
McCormick hit on three shots from behind the arc in a span of 2 1/2 minutes during the final period, giving him seven for the game, as well as EH a huge 55-51 Mid-Hoosier Conference victory.
Behind 12 threes by the team, and a second straight 24-point night by McCormick, the Royals (12-4) moved into a first-place tie with Indian Creek, at 5-2 in a scrambled league race. EH visits Morristown (5-3 HHC) on Friday.
The Royals, like they did Saturday when they fell behind by eight, climbed out of a hole, this time with an 11-0 run to begin the fourth quarter after they trailed 40-34.
“Especially after the third quarter, I kind of challenged them,” EH coach Aaron Spaulding said. “Edinburgh was playing harder than us and I said, ‘We’re in a dogfight for the conference and we’re going to have to play harder.’ And they really came together in the fourth quarter.”
Derrik Noel got a quick basket to open the period, then McCormick spotted up for a three to get the Royals to within a point.
The play of the game immediately followed. Garrett Hancock intercepted a Lancer pass in the air, dribbled up the court, spun around a triple team and banked it in. Hancock was fouled on the play, and his ensuing free throw put EH up 42-40 with 5:40 left, its first lead since 29-26 at halftime.
The Royals maintained the advantage, which grew to 50-43 with just over three minutes to go. But Edinburgh (9-7, 3-4 MHC) wouldn’t go away, and was within a point of EH on two occasions in the final minute.
EH, trying to lenghten its lead at the foul stripe, got two blessings in disguise within 1.5 seconds of each other.
The first was when McCormick missed the second of two shots and Logan Splater outhustled Lancer center Dakota Sneed for the board, and Splater drew Sneed’s fifth foul.
On his second attempt, Splater couldn’t make it a two-possession game, but Noel grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and with 17.9 seconds remaining split a pair, that put it out of Edinburgh’s reach.
“We came up with some big offensive rebounds down the stretch,” Spaulding said. “Sometimes (foul) shots aren’t going to fall, but we were at the right place at the right time.”
The Royals’ first six hoops were 3-pointers (out of seven attempts) and that gave them their biggest lead of the game, 18-9. But the Lancers scored 10 unanswered and went in front for the first time, at 31-29 a minute into the second half. Edinburgh held EH to five points in the third period.
Hancock added four triples and ended with 15 points. The Royals were 12-for-27 from 3-point range.
“The first quarter, we shot the ball well, but sometimes (3-point shots are) good and sometimes that’s bad,” Spaulding said. “Obviously you don’t want to be over-reliant on that, but we did a nice job of adjusting as the game went in and we were able to find other ways to score.”
Notes: Splater got his 100th rebound of the season, with his first board. He finished with a team-high eight...Cooper Henderson gave out six assists and McCormick four...The Royals' JV rolled over Edinburgh 62-40. Braden Dickey led EH with 24 points.