Greensburg — For the first 31 minutes and 55 seconds of the North Decatur boys basketball team’s home loss to Eastern Hancock Saturday, head coach Kyle Nobbe and the Chargers thought they had the Royals right where they wanted them.
North led Eastern Hancock through the first three quarters and most of the fourth in the 31-30 loss. However, a pair of free throws – the only points of the final eight minutes - were all it took for the Royals to overcome an offensively challenged matchup and seize the win.
The Chargers had not allowed fewer than 32 points since Dec. 11, 2011, a 44-27 win over South Decatur. They also gave up as few as 27 in a 54-27 win over Triton Central on Dec. 22, 2005.
North jumped out to an early lead and doubled up on the Royals, 16-8 after the first quarter. Putting North on the board first were sophomores Luke Badgley and Andrew Hocker with 3-pointers. The Royals scored the next five points, but North surged back ahead with an 8-0 run to go up 14-5.
The Royals climbed to within five to start the second quarter, but North sophomore Evan Wallpe took over with six second-quarter points. North led 22-15 at the half.
Eastern Hancock started the second half with a triple, but Wallpe answered with four quick points. North went up 26-18 with a Wallpe score off an assist by sophomore Dayne Lecher.
The Royals, though, went on a 7-0 run to pull to within one. North’s lead shrank to 26-25 with two minutes left in the third. Just 30 seconds later, sophomore Arek Holloway grabbed a steal and scored to make it a three-point game again, with North leading 28-25. Wallpe took another pass from Lecher to end the third-quarter scoring, making it 30-25 with 45 seconds left.
Little did Nobbe and the Chargers know, it was the last time North would score.