CHARLOTTESVILLE — Jeremy Powers normally refrains from listing team-specific goals.
But, the second-year EH coach was particularly displeased after his team’s season-opening 48-39 setback at Elwood last Wednesday. So, he supplied his squad with a precise directive entering its first home contest Saturday against Muncie Southside.
The decree: Limit the Rebels to 32 points.
With the help of 29 Muncie Southside turnovers — a byproduct of 16 EH steals — the Royals hit their mark precisely, handling the Rebels 83-32.
The 83 points were the most for an Eastern Hancock outfit since the Royals beat host Wes-Del 98-36 on Dec. 11, 2004.
EH asserted itself on the glass from the start, as junior forward Kristin Eischen scored two buckets off offensive rebounds to spur the hosts to a 9-1 lead. The Royals would finish the game with a 55-20 advantage on the boards.
Powers employed a trapping defense from the onset, filling the Rebels’ potential passing lanes with his team’s length.
“We established ourselves quickly in the first quarter and never really let off the gas pedal,” he said.
The second quarter featured the Royals’ running with every opportunity, netting layup after layup with each Rebel turnover.
By halftime, Eastern Hancock led 47-14 and held Muncie Southside to three made field goals.
The blue-and-white squashed any comeback attempt by the visitors with a 20-4 run to start the third quarter, upping its lead to 67-18.
By game’s end, all 10 of the girls in the varsity rotation had scored, led by Peyton Neisler’s career-high 16 points. The Royals shot 53 percent from the field.
Eischen notched her first double-double of the season (12 points, 10 rebounds). Kiersten Schrope chipped in with nine points, four rebounds and a game-high seven assists. Hannah Best connected on a pair of three-pointers en route to a career-best 13 points.
The performance was a 180-degree turn from the Elwood game, with the Royals displaying the headiness their coach expects from them night in and night out.
“I challenged them pretty good the last couple of days about being mentally tough, Powers explained. “If we came out with a killer instinct, we could accomplish anything.”
Other EH contributions came from Lauren Harmon (nine points, seven rebounds), Kaytlin Eastes (six points, five rebounds, team-best two blocks) and Allison Dickey (career-high five points).
Sophomore guard Shelby Mourey notched a game-high four steals in addition to recording three points, her first time cracking the scoring column as a varsity player.
“She’ll be a different player now. I’m asking a lot of her as a sophomore, but I think she’s more than capable,” Powers said of Mourey.
Muncie Southside was paced by Whitney Vance and Hadessah Jackson, both of whom tallied eight points.
Eastern Hancock (1-1) hosts Franklin County (1-1) Friday.
Notes: After going three of 10 from the foul line against Elwood, Eastern Hancock hit 11 of 16 free throws Saturday. … Six Royals grabbed at least five rebounds. … EH won the JV game 40-21. Hope Spaulding led the Royals with nine points.