Nichols Leads The Lancers Past Eastern

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The Federal Hocking Lancers (6-6, 4-4) improved their winning streak to three games with a 67-47 victory over the Eastern Eagles (0-12, 0-9), who remain winless in their 2013-14 campaign. The Lancers handled Eastern on their home court and improve to .500 on the season, thanks in large part to Alfy Nichols’ game-high 20 points.

The Lancers jumped out to an early 10-0 run in the game’s first three minutes and carried that momentum throughout the entire first quarter. After extending its lead to 30-15 with 3:32 remaining in the second quarter, Federal Hocking senior guard Cliff Bonner was fouled on a layup attempt and fell hard on his right hand. The injury forced Bonner out of the game and comes less than a month after he broke his left hand. Before the hard foul, Bonner was leading the team with six steals to go along with three offensive rebounds.

“His [Cliff’s] injury really fired us up because it looked intentional,” senior guard Pete Crum said. “It gave us an extra spark because they were threatening to come back but we really wish it wouldn’t have happened.”

After Bonner’s injury, the Lancers seemed to speed up their already quick style of play and gained a 37-21 lead going into the half.

Eastern responded in the third quarter, scoring seven straight points and closed the gap to 10. Federal Hocking, however, would not let the Eagles get any closer the rest of the game as it closed out the quarter on a 19-4 run. The Lancers dominated the entire fourth quarter and won the game by 20, its largest victory of the season thus far.

Nine of Nichols’ 20 points came from beyond the arc, as he shot 50 percent from 3-point territory. Federal Hocking also outrebounded the Eagles 30-16 while both teams struggled with ball control. Eastern committed 28 turnovers compared to an uncharacteristic 20 by the Lancers.

Although Eastern continued its winless ways, there were a few bright spots for the squad. One of these includes junior Christian Speelman, who had a team-high 19 points with 50 percent shooting from 3-point range. Speelman, however, led the team and the game with seven turnovers while senior center Chase Cook also had five turnovers.

The Lancers look to pick up their fourth-straight win tomorrow night as they square off with the Meigs Marauders, while Eastern returns to action Jan. 21 against the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes.