HAGERSTOWN — It would have been unrealistic for Eastern Hancock to expect its final 3-point attempt — a 50-foot heave at the game-ending buzzer — to fall.
The Royals only wish one or two more of the closer-to-the-basket attempts would have fallen.
Union County edged Eastern Hancock 45-43 Friday to advance to tonight’s Class 2A Sectional 41 championship vs. Northeastern (21-2).
Despite a 36 percent shooting effort on the night, Eastern Hancock had a chance to prevail, trailing 45-43 with 1.8 seconds remaining. EH sophomore Tom Barton inbounded from underneath his own basket to senior guard Garrett Hancock, who couldn’t reach halfcourt before launching a 3-point attempt that was off the mark.
Three weeks ago, Eastern Hancock (16-6) hit enough key shots to edge Union County 78-74 in triple overtime. In the sectional rematch, however, the Royals’ 7-of-28 mark from behind the 3-point line ultimately doomed their chances.
“Some shots didn’t go for us tonight that have went for us a lot of times this year,” EH coach Aaron Spaulding said. “We kind of rely on the jump shot, so when those don’t go we’ve got to find other ways. And they did a nice job of keeping us off the boards where we couldn’t get those second-chance points.
“So, hats off to them. It was a great game, they were just a tad bit better than we were tonight.”
Neither squad gained much separation throughout the contest. The Patriots (19-4) overcame their largest deficit — 18-13 — by closing the first half with an 11-2 blitz. And they maintained a 34-28 advantage heading into the final quarter.