[Maria Monesi | WOUB]

Federal Hocking secures Sectional title with tight win over Whiteoak

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STEWART, Ohio (WOUB) — Federal Hocking hosted a sectional championship game Friday night as they welcomed in the Mowrystown Whiteoak Wildcats. Despite the Lancers being the five seed and the Wildcats being the 12 seed, this game was much closer than expected.

Fed Hock came out slow in the first quarter. Lane Smith exploded in the latter part of the quarter scoring seven points and the Lancers were only down 13-11 after the first eight minutes.

In the second quarter both offenses were unstoppable. The Lancers finished the second frame with 24 points. Andrew Airhart had 11 points, nine of those coming from three pointers. Andrew Crockwell also scored all seven of his points in this quarter. As for the Wildcats they finished the quarter with 18 points highlighted by Bradley Ashbaugh who had seven in the frame.

The halftime score was 35-31 in favor of the Lancers.

Tariq Cottrill came out of the locker room with a different attitude on offense and you could see it in his play on the floor. Cottrill took more control of the offense as he was constantly driving to the hoop and taking many threes.

“I saw they weren’t helping as much so I tried to take over and do as much as I could,” Cottrill said about his third quarter.

Cottrill led the way for the Lancers in the third quarter as he finished the frame with nine points. The pesky Wildcats would not go away though, the Lancers only held a three-point advantage heading into the final quarter, 50-47.

Airhart took over again in the fourth quarter. He hit two more three pointers and went to the line late twice. He sank all four free throws with ease to close the game. Head coach Jonathon Thompson was drawing up plays for Airhart so he would get the ball and head to the free throw line.

The Wildcats were unable to make clutch shots down the stretch and it cost them as Fed Hock won this game by a final score of 68-61.

Airhart finished with a career-high 24 points. Cottrill finished with 16 points and five assists. The last Lancer in double digits was Lane Smith with 15.

This is the Lancers third straight sectional title. They will now have an eight-day gap before facing Latham Wester, the four seed, in the district semifinal at Wellston.

“I know Western is a quality team,” Thompson says of his next opponent, “we’ve gotta make sure we’re mentally and physically prepared, ready to go. Got a lot of work to do this week.”