Updated Mon, Feb 3, 2014 2:53 pm
It has been a crazy season for the Tri-Valley Conference. From upsets, buzzer-beaters and postponed games, fans of the TVC have seen it all. While Athens has the TVC-Ohio locked down, the Hocking is still up for grabs, with three teams all within a game of each other. With two weeks left until the end of the regular season, every game is that more important for those looking to be crowned king of the TVC-Hocking.
1. Southern Tornadoes
There is little the Tornadoes can complain about their season thus far. Winning eight of their last nine games, Southern does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. Trimble is their only tough game left in the Hocking. Southern is undefeated at home and it will remain that way when Trimble visits. The way Southern is playing, I don’t see them losing another game all season.
2. Waterford Wildcats
The Wildcats started the season hot, winning seven of their first eight games, but since then, have only won two of their last six. Waterford only has four games left in conference play, against Eastern, South Gallia, Belpre and Southern.
Eastern, South Gallia and Belpre have all struggled this season and should not pose much of a threat to the Wildcats. Waterford will finish their season at home against Southern in what will ultimately be the Hocking title game. The Tornadoes won the first matchup between these two teams 62-51, so expect another close game where Southern will prevail.
3. Trimble Tomcats
The Tomcats finished last season dead middle in the Hocking with an 8-8 record in conference play. Though the ballers from Glouster are playing much better than last season, they are still not out of the woods yet. Trimble still has some tough ball games against Southern, Fed Hock and Belpre.
The Tomcats only lost by five to Southern in their first matchup, while putting up at least 70 points in wins against Fed Hock and Belpre early in the season. With the way the Tornadoes and the Lancers have been playing as of late, and with Trimble on the road for both of those games, the Tomcats will have to keep their focus.
4. Federal Hocking Lancers
Coach Howie Caldwell and the Lancers came into the season knowing it would be a tough task trying to repeat as Hocking champs, and they are finding out first-hand how hard it really is. Fed Hock opened up Hocking play slow, losing four of their first six conference games. Since their cold start, the Lancers are 4-1 in their last five Hocking games, including going 7-2 in the month of January.
Fed Hock only has four more games left in Hocking play, against Belpre, Miller, and Wahama before closing the season at home against Trimble. Though I have Trimble ahead of Fed Hock, the way the Lancers have played in 2014 and their impressive form at home, Caldwell and his Lancers will finish the season on a high note.
5. Belpre Golden Eagles
The Hocking runner-ups from a season ago have struggled as of late, losing six of their last eight games. The Golden Eagles still having a whopping seven games remaining against Hocking foes in the last two weeks, the most of any Hocking team. In those seven games, Belpre will face stiff competition in Federal Hocking, Trimble, Southern and Waterford.
With the Lancers, Tomcats and Tornadoes all visiting Belpre, expect them all to pull at a close victory. The Golden Eagles will be able to pick up victories against South Gallia, Wahama and Miller to be 8-8 in Hocking play this season.
6. South Gallia Rebels
The Rebels finished eighth in the Hocking last season with a 4-12 record. This season saw some improvements for Larry Howell and his Rebels. South Gallia does not have an easy ending to Hocking play this season. Their last four games are against Southern, Waterford, Miller and Trimble.
The Tornadoes, Wildcats and Tomcats will prove to be too much for the Rebels to handle. Their clash against Miller will be a good matchup, but it will be tough for South Gallia to steal a game from the Falcons on the road.
7. Wahama White Falcons
The White Falcons will find themselves in the bottom three of the Hocking standing for the second straight year. Wahama didn’t start the season the way they wanted to, losing seven of their first nine games.
The only really tough game the White Falcons have left on the schedule is a trip to Stewart to take on Howie Caldwell and his Lancers. Games against Miller, Eastern and Belpre could go either way, but the White Falcons will have to stop turning the ball over in order to give themselves a chance.
8. Miller Falcons
The Falcons finished third in the Hocking last season despite having a 9-13 record. This year, they find themselves looking up the table after losing nine of their last 10 games. Miller still has to go through the gauntlet of Fed Hock, Trimble and Southern in a span of five days. The Falcons will finish the season on a high note, as they will defend their home court when South Gallia comes to visit in the season finale.
9. Eastern Eagles
This has been a season to forget for Jeremy Hill and his Eagles squad. Winning only one of their 16 games this season, not much has gone right for the boys in green and white, and it won’t get any easier. With games against Waterford, Trimble and Southern, it is very possible that the Eagles may not win another game this season.