Dec. 15-19: Fed Hock Boys And Girls

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Just like everyone else in Southeastern Ohio during this holiday season, the Federal Hocking boys and girls basketball teams were very busy over the past week.
Each teams’ first year head coach had their hands full, as Jeremy Tolson and the Lady Lancers were in action three times in six days while Joe Butcher and the boys squad found themselves on the court twice.
The Lancers (1-3, 1-2) hosted a tough South Gallia (5-1, 4-0) opponent on Dec. 12, where they were hoping to bring home their first win of the season. Federal Hocking veterans, senior guard Ivan Santiago and senior center Jonathan Snyder, were the most prominent offensive contributors as they have been thus far this season. Santiago finished with a season-high 28 points and Snyder added 21 of his own.
Due to late game foul trouble, the scoring duo didn’t have enough in the end as the Rebels held on for the narrow 67-64 victory.
“We blew some key opportunities late in the game that could have given us the win,” senior point guard A.J. Cobb said. “But we are now looking ahead to Belpre.”
After a long week of preparation, Butcher and the Lancers were finally able to put one in the win column on Friday with a 69-63 win at Belpre (2-4, 1-3). With all three of its losses by less than ten points, Fed Hock finally finished the game on top for its first win of the season. The win also marked Butcher’s first career win as interim head coach.
Along with the boys, the Lady Lancers (2-5, 2-3) also began its week on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Beginning its first of its three home matchups during the week, Tolson and the team were outplayed by Waterford (7-0, 6-0) in a big 58-32 loss.
Tolson was pleased at the early lead the Lady Lancers held in the first quarter, but it quickly vanished when all five starters were forced to sit the bench for the majority of the first half with foul trouble. Faced with a 15-point deficit at the end of the first half, Fed Hock could not close the gap in the second half of play. Tolson quickly changed his focus toward the next two games on the schedule.
“It is tough to prepare when we do not have a lot of practice time,” Tolson said. “But we have some film to look through and we do our best to simulate the way our opponents play in practice.”
Only three days after the loss, the Lady Lancers returned to work on Thursday, where they thoroughly dominated the visiting Wahama Lady White Falcons (0-6, 0-6) with an astonishing 81-6 final score.
In a contest where they controlled every facet of the game, Federal Hocking sophomore guard Destiny Tabler led the team with 22 points on 9-12 shooting from the field. Even with the offensive explosion, it was the Lady Lancer’s defense that shined. They only allowed two points in the final three quarters of play.
“Every win is valuable,” Tolson said. “Coming into the game, there were certain goals that I wanted to accomplish, and they did that. They did a heck of a job.”
In the impressive win, Federal Hocking’s junior varsity players got the majority of the minutes in the second half because Tolson wanted to give his younger players some varsity experience.
“I have a couple of freshman that have been working really hard,” Tolson said. “It was valuable time for them, and they performed very well.”
The Lady Lancers carried that momentum into its final game of the week where they hosted a non-conference foe in Berne Union. Federal Hocking executed well right off the tip, jumping out to an eight point first half lead. The second half proved to be a different story as the Lady Rockets outhustled the maroon and gold, taking home the 71-60 win.
Tolson did not end the week the way he wanted to, expressing that if his team could play the way they are capable for all four quarters, they would be a tough team to beat.
“With this being my first year, I am trying to get this team into a winning mentality,” Tolson said. “We are so close.”
Both Federal Hocking teams have a much lighter schedule for the rest of the calendar year. Tolson and the Lady Lancers will hit the road for two conference games on the 23rd and the 27th. Butcher and the boys squad only have one matchup in a non-conference clash with Berne Union on Dec. 22.