STEWART, Ohio — You can’t say they didn’t leave it all on the floor.
The Eastern boys basketball team trailed Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Federal Hocking by 18 points with 10 minutes left in Friday night’s season finale at McInturf Gymnasium. The Eagles — who were ousted from the postseason on Wednesday — battled all the way back to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, but the Green and Gold couldn’t overtake the Lancers and FHHS held on for the 78-70 win.
Federal Hocking (4-19, 3-13 TVC Hocking) — which never trailed in the contest — hit back-to-back three-pointers to start the game, but Eastern (6-16, 4-12) scored four of the next five points and trailed 7-4, three minutes into play. However, the Lancers reeled off an 11-2 run over the next three minutes, pushing the advantage to 18-6 with two minutes left in the opening stanza. The Eagles outscored the Maroon and Gold by a 5-4 clip to finish the first, and the Lancers led 22-11 at the end of the period.
Federal Hocking pushed its lead to 30-13 less than two minutes into the second canto, but the Lancers were held scoreless for the next three minutes. Eastern only managed to score four points during the FHHS drought, and the Lancers ended the cold spell with back-to-back three-pointers, making their advantage 36-17 with 2:40 left in the half. EHS outscored Federal Hocking 4-to-2 over the rest of the half and the Lancers went into the locker room with a 38-21 lead.
In the first half, FHHS held a 20-to-16 rebounding advantage, including a 8-to-7 edge on the offensive glass. The Lancers were 7-of-12 on first half three-point attempts, while EHS was 0-5 from deep.
Federal Hocking’s lead grew to 21 points by the 3:00 mark of the third quarter, but a Cameron Richmond three-pointer and a Dillon Swatzel dunk cut the lead to 16. The Lancers scored their final two points of the third quarter at the 2:01 mark, making the lead 51-33. EHS scored 10 points in the final two minutes of the third, cutting the deficit to 51-43 with one quarter to play.
A 7-2 FHHS run to start the fourth quarter put the margin back in double digits with 6:30 left in regulation. EHS outscored the Lancers 20-to-7 over the next four minutes and the Eagles tied the game at 65 with a Jett Facemyer two-pointer at the 2:24 mark.
The game was only tied for 19 seconds in the fourth quarter, as FHHS senior Ryan Harvey sank a long-distance trifecta to give the hosts a 68-65 lead with 2:05 on the clock. The Lancers ended the 78-70 victory with a 10-to-5 run over the final two minutes.
“For 22 minutes we played as bad as we possibly could,” third-year EHS head coach Jeremy Hill said. “The last 10 minutes were a blast. It was fun and it’s the way the game is supposed to be played. I think that the younger ones sitting on the bench and the junior varsity team sitting in the stands got a vision of what it’s supposed to be like. For 10 minutes, they got to see how the game of basketball is supposed to be played.”
Facemyer led the Green and Gold with 29 points and six boards, followed by Swatzel with 27 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Richmond recorded seven points, six rebounds and a team-best four assists, while Austin Coleman chipped in with three points. Ross Keller and Corbett Catlett rounded out the Eagle scoring with two points apiece, while Chase Curtis contributed three assists.
The EHS defense was led by Ty Bissell with three steals and Swatzel with two blocked shots.
The Eagles shot 20-of-31 (64.5 percent) from the free throw line and 24-of-54 (44.4 percent) from the field, including 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) from three-point range.
For the game, Eastern won the rebounding battle by a 36-32 tally, including a 15-to-13 edge on the offensive glass. Both teams committed 22 turnovers in the game, but nine of Eastern’s came in the fourth quarter. Collectively, the Eagles marked 11 assists, eight steals and four blocks, while the Lancers recorded 16 assists, 14 steals and two blocks.
Harvey led the Maroon and Gold with 28 points, eight rebounds and three assists, followed by A.J. Cobb with 13 points and eight assists. Jared Hawk scored 11 points, Jason Gillian added 10 points and seven rebounds, while Carter Russell finished with eight points and 11 boards. Randy Lantz rounded out the Lancer scoring with eight points, before fouling out.
Harvey also led the Lancers on defense with five steals, followed by Cobb with four steals and Russell with two blocks.
Federal Hocking shot 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) from the free throw line and 28-of-66 (42.4 percent) from the field, including 9-of-19 (47.4 percent) from beyond the arc.
The season series between EHS and FHHS will finish tied at 1-1, as the Green and Gold claimed a 57-45 decision over the Lancers on January 8, in Tuppers Plains. This marks the final game for EHS seniors Ross Keller, Dillon Swatzel, Cameron Richmond, Chase Curtis and Ty Bissell.
“The seniors didn’t quit, they gave their best effort and just came up short,” Hill said. “Next year we’re going to have to play quicker, because we’ll have no size. We’re low in numbers, but we have a group of freshmen that had a very successful 14-7 season at junior varsity and we have a nice group of eighth grade kids coming in. We’re going to be very young, very small and the gameplan is to become a very scrappy ball club.”
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.
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