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Late rally helps propel Royals past Lancers

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In a game that featured several momentum shifts, Eastern Hancock caught the last wave and eked out a 55-51 home win over Edinburgh in boys basketball Tuesday night.

Edinburgh coach Drew Glentzer saw his team mount a third-quarter comeback to take the lead, but then were victimized by an 11-0 start to the fourth quarter by the Royals before falling short in a last-ditch attempt at another comeback.

Glentzer said the night’s result came down to a few plays at the end.

“They are a pretty streaky shooting team which we knew coming in,” Glentzer said. “It was a game of runs and we got it down to one, but we missed a block out and ended up down a couple more. They just made a few more plays than we did at the end.”

The Royals (11-4, 4-2 Mid-Hoosier Conference) came out firing 3-point field goals. Only seven of their nine field goal attempts in the first quarter were not of the 3-point variety, and Eastern Hancock connected on six of those, accounting for all 18 of their points in the opening eight minutes.

For the Lancers (9-6, 3-3), a more versatile offensive approach was the plan with shots coming from outside the arc and inside the lane, resulting in just a two-point deficit after the quarter.

Both teams stepped up defensively in the second quarter, contesting shots more aggressively and bringing the opposing field goal percentages down considerably.

The Royals led 29-26 at halftime and continued to score from the outside with 24 of their 29 points after the break coming on 3-pointers.

The Lancers took command of the game in the third quarter with Bobby Simpson and Collin Hoskins getting penetration off the dribble and hitting lay-ups and short jumpers to spark a 14-5 advantage for the eight minutes, giving Edinburgh a 40-34 lead going into the final quarter.

The Royals charged back with an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter. After Matt Heagy left with his fourth foul, Isaiah McCormick hit a pair of 3-pointers and the Royals charged back to retake the lead.

The teams traded baskets down the stretch, but some turnovers by Eastern Hancock allowed the Lancers to get within one point after Heagy hit a pair of free throws with 21 seconds remaining in regulation.

Twice the Royals missed foul shots only to grab the offensive rebound and keep possession. Cole Fout hit a pair of foul shots with 17 seconds left to put the game away.

Glentzer said the team’s poise continues to improve as the sectional tourney draws near.

“I told them I was really proud of them for fighting back like that,” he said. “We have to take the negatives and turn them into positives. Our kids understand we are playing for the sectional and we have three games to get ourselves ready.”

Hoskins led the Lancers with 16 points, while Simpson added 13 and Heagy scored 12. Dakota Sneed led the team in rebounding with nine.

McCormick led all scorers with 24 points including 7 of 12 shooting from beyond the 3-point stripe. Garrett Hancock scored 15 for the Royals.

The loss effectively eliminates Edinburgh from title contention in the Mid-Hoosier Conference, while the Royals remain a contender. The Lancers host South Decatur on Friday.

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