EH scores first MHC victory at Southwestern

MARIETTA — With the holidays and effects of the football season behind it, Eastern Hancock on Friday night began to tackle the meat of its basketball schedule.

Winless Southwestern, the Royals’ first 2014 opponent, tried to throw EH for a loss, but the visitors were resilient late and emerged with a 50-44 Mid-Hoosier Conference victory.

Three Royals hit double figures and a fourth, sophomore sixth man Ryan Speas, scored nine points, as EH (3-2, 1-1 MHC) recovered with huge hoops after relinquishing an 11-point lead and seeing the Spartans go ahead on three occasions.

Derrik Noel paced the Royals with 11 points, and both Cooper Henderson and Logan Splater had 10, with the latter enjoying a big night underneath.

“They did a nice job staying with it,” EH coach Aaron Spaulding said. “We got in a little bit of foul trouble that hurt us in the third quarter and had some guys on the bench. Fortunately, we made some plays down the stretch that we needed to win the basketball game.”

The Royals had not played in 13 days, and though they led for all but about three minutes, the down time showed. They didn’t shoot well for long stretches (3-for-13 in the third quarter) and sometimes weren’t on the same page with their passes.

But neither was Southwestern (0-7, 0-3 MHC), and that allowed EH for the most part to maintain command.

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