In a battle of 2A top 10s, No. 6 Ritter topped No. 5 Eastern Hancock 63-56 in the championship game of the Guerin Catholic Invite.
Kristin Eischen led the Royals (8-2) with 18 points. Kiersten Schrope had 17 points, 11 rebounds, and six steals. Darby Shaw added eight points and six rebounds.
Ritter (10-2) outscored EH 21-14 in the fourth quarter.
“We had a sluggish start to the game, down 13-8 at the end of first quarter and actually trailed by double digits at three different points in the game,” said EH coach Jeremy Powers. “However, the girls never quit and continued to battle all night. We had outstanding defense in the third to tie the game at 42-42 going into the final quarter.
“We were just never able to get over the hump and seal the deal.”
EH’s other loss this season was against 2A No. 6 Lapel (tied with Ritter in the rankings), 70-59 on Dec. 17. The Royals beat 2A No. 8 Knightstown 60-48 in their next game, Dec. 20.
“When you have played three ranked teams in your last four games, it will only make you better come the tournament,” said Powers, whose squad will host Class A No. 2 Southwestern next Tuesday (Jan. 7). “I told the girls after the game to remember what this feeling is like (falling in a championship game) and use it as motivation the rest of the year.
“I also told the girls I am tired of them being the ‘bridesmaid.’ They will be at the front where everyone remembers them at the end of the year.”
In the semifinals at Guerin, Hannah Best (15 points) and Schrope (10 points, seven assists, six steals) were among the EH leaders in a 61-34 win over the host squad.
The Royals won the JV tourney at Guerin,defeating New Haven 39-25 in the championship. Hope Spaulding led the way with 15 points and Peyton West had 10 points.
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