As Shari Doud approaches a couple milestones in her 19-year head coaching career, her team gave her another memorable victory prior to hitting those landmarks.

On Tuesday in Shelbyville, Doud’s Eastern Hancock girls basketball team defeated Southwestern (Shelby) 68-13.

All 13 of the Spartans points came on free throws.

Doud said she had never had that happen during her coaching career, and added she didn’t realize it until her statistician gave her the scorebook after the game.

What she did know prior to the game and has known as the season has progressed, the Royals are strong on the defensive end.

A defensive average of 24.4 is third-best in the state and tops among all Class 2A schools. The margin of victory of 34.7 points ranks No. 7 in the state and tops in 2A.

“The kids have bought into it,” Doud said of her team enjoying her philosophy of playing pressure and overall strong defense. “They know what’s going to win them the big games. It’s something we’re hanging our hats on. Offensively, you can’t rest on your laurels. Some games you hit a higher percentage than others.

“I know a lot of coaches say this, but it still holds true, your percentages aren’t always going to be high every night on the offensive end, but your defense can be there every single night. That’s why they say defense wins championships, because if you consistently play it, stop teams, you can have an off-night on the offensive end and still win some big games.”

The Royals are ranked No. 11 in the Class 2A Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association (ICGSA) poll. They’ve had their share of lopsided wins and are 8-1 going into tonight’s game at Tipton.

Twice opponents have scored less than the Spartans. Eastern opened the year with a 65-9 Mid-Eastern Conference victory over Wes-Del and downed another MEC foe, Cowan, 62-12.

While some of the programs on schedule are having down or rebuilding seasons, the Royals have had some strong defensive performances against the better teams on the schedule, too.

In a key MEC win last week at Wapahani, the Royals defeated the Raiders 48-34. It’s Wapahani’s only loss and lowest scoring game of the season.

Against sectional-rival Triton Central, the Royals won 56-34. It was the Tigers (3-3) lowest point total through six games.

“We have to get out and pressure the ball,” Doud said. “We’re small. Ruby (White) is 6-1 and Emma Bolding is a strong 5-8, otherwise we’re undersized. So, we really rely on ball pressure with our guards. They do a great job of communicating and rotating. They have a feel for the game on that end. Coach can coach so much, but a lot of it comes from grit that’s within the kids. This group of kids has that grit.”

Doud is in her seventh season as the Royals coach. She’s just three wins away from 100 as the EH coach and four victories from 300 for her career.

In Tuesday’s win, the Royals led 30-1 at the end of the first quarter. They outscored the Spartans 19-1 in the third period.

Five Eastern Hancock players scored eight or more points and three were in double figures.

Senior guard Grace Stapleton led the way with 18. White and Sammie Bolding each scored 10. Makenzie O’Neal had nine and Emma Bolding scored eight. Nine different Royals scored.

Eastern Hancock has won six in a row since a 49-44 loss at Class 3A Rushville on Nov. 5.

Doud is eager to see her club resume play against some of the stronger teams on the schedule. That’s happening as soon as tonight against a very good Tipton team, the third of five straight road games. On Saturday, the Royals take on defending Class 3A state champion Northwestern. They go to North Decatur on Dec. 6 and host a strong Lapel team on Dec. 13.

“It’s a big measuring point to see where we truly are against good teams,” Doud said on anticipating the games remaining this week and the remainder of the month. “There’s always work to be done. There’s always a way to improve. These types of games will help us see what areas we still need to polish. Obviously we’re not a perfect team, there’s always some ways to get better.”

Eastern Hancock 68, Southwestern (Shelby) 13

Eastern Hancock;30;11;19;8;—;68

Southwestern;1;5;1;6;—;13

Eastern Hancock (8-1): Grace Stapleton 8 0-0 18, Emma Bolding 4 0-0 8, Makenzie O’Neal 4 0-0 9, Sammie Bolding 3 1-2 10, Ruby White 5 0-0 10, Brooklyn Willis 1 0-0 3, Sydney Springman 3 0-0 6, Camryn Andrus 0 0-0 0, Ellie Meyer 0 2-4 2, Lainee Parker 1 0-0 2. Totals: 29 3-8 68.

Southwestern (0-8). Haley Casey 0 4-4 4, Tanna Tatlock 0 5-8 5, Riley Engel 0 0-0 0, Cy Stockdale 0 1-2 1, McKinley Correll 0 3-5 3, Bailey Taylor 0 0-0 0, Claire Utley 0 0-0 0. Totals: 0 13-19 13.

3-point goals: Eastern Hancock 7 (S. Bolding 3, Stapleton 2, O’ Neal, Willis).

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