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Federal Hocking Lancers St Joseph Flyers
(Ben Wielgopolski/WOUB)

Lancers Look Back On Historic Season Despite Loss in Tournament

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ATHENS, Ohio – One team defied the odds and had a breakthrough performance. That performance took them to the biggest stage of basketball in Southeast Ohio: The Convocation Center. 

The Federal Hocking Lancers can be defined as a sleeper team that did nothing short of dominate in the 2019-2020 season. That domination allowed them to punch their ticket to The Convo and battle their hearts out. 

Although the Lancers had a hard-fought battle in a game that went down to the final buzzer, their train-like run was cut short by the St. Joseph Flyers. The final to this nail-biting game was 61-59 Flyers. 

The Flyers and Lancers duked it out the majority of the first half. The Flyers key component to creating breathing room came from JC Damron who finished with 17 points. His ability to crash the boards lit it up and brought the game out of reach for the Lancers.

“We kept missing some defensive assignments, but hats off to St. Joe’s, they finished when they needed to finish,” head coach Jonathan Thompson said.

But Lancer Hunter Smith had other thoughts in mind. To create some momentum and tighten this game up, he pulled up from the bottom of the eye of Rufus on the court and drained a three-pointer at the end of the first half. That sent Federal Hocking into their locker room with their heads high. 

“I just kind of freed them up, we’ve been working and trying to execute offenses and things and trying to pound it low by getting it to Brad [Russel] and Elijah [Lucas],” Thompson said. “So, I told the guys ‘handcuffs are off, let’s play.” 

That message truly did free the Lancers as they were able to start to dig themselves up. They took a few leads at times and were able to change the momentum with the help of Smith. He came through for the Lancers with 12 points.

As the song “Whatever it Takes” by Imagine Dragons roared through The Convo, the Lancers sat during a timeout in the fourth quarter while they had the game tied. That fueled them in this back and forth game but ultimately a last-minute bucket from the Flyers set the game in the books.

One of the biggest factors for the Lancers resiliency until the final moments was a lights-out performance from senior Brad Russell who finished with 20 points. Russell has been a key player this entire year and a leader that has helped lay the foundation down for years to come. 

This season will be a season to be remembered by the Lancers as they turned the program from something that struggled to find enough players to participate in the game to winning their conference outright and securing a first-round bye. This Lancer team can potentially be a force to be reckoned with in the TVC-Hocking.

“I told them to not hold their heads coming out of here, yeah this is a very difficult locker room, probably one of the harder ones you’re going to be a part of,” Thompson said. “But understand what you have accomplished, where you’re from to where you are now.”