Hardwood Heroes

Federal Hocking Junior Tariq Cottrill lays up a shot against Hiland

Lancers close successful season just shy of elite eight

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB)- The regional semifinal match was set, taking place at the Convocation Center Tuesday evening, Federal Hocking playing host to the Hiland Hawks. Federal Hocking faithful packed the stands once again, this time bringing an even bigger crowd than last round. The students themselves traveled in on five pep buses, totaling an astounding 178 students. Lancer fans once again took up almost all of the lower bowl and a great amount of the upper bowl

Federal Hocking and Hiland battled this game straight from the jump, both teams trading blows. The star of the first quarter, and most of the game, was Lancer junior, Andrew Airhart. When talking about the pace of the game, Airhart stated “oh it sped it way up. Especially with no timeouts called in the first half. The game was just super-fast, and I guess it just got away from us”. The first quarter ended with Federal Hocking up 13-10.

Airhart finished with 17 points on the night with four rebounds and one assist. The Lancers kept pace with the Hawks all throughout the rest of the second quarter, taking a one-point lead going into the halftime break, up 25-24. Federal Hocking fans sent them to the locker room with an abundance of applause, showing more of their amazing community support.

The third quarter looked like a track meet, both teams running up and down the floor with long passes and little movement within the paint The Lancer defense was pushed to their limit, and cracks were starting to form, allowing the Hawks to take over the tempo that suited their playing style. Forced shots and free throws were the tale of the quarter for Federal Hocking, turning out to be very costly in the long run. Hiland would have the lead, 41-39, going into the final eight minutes.

Fourth quarter of action was do or die for the Lancers, having to deal with the Hawks solid defense and ability to score at all times. Federal Hocking found themselves down by three with less than 20 seconds on the clock.

What happened next was what defines playoff basketball.

Tariq Cottrill passes it out to Andrew Airhart, , knocking down the clutch game-tying three with 14 seconds left in the contest. The Convo absolutely erupted, everyone on the campus of Ohio University could have heard the Lancer faithful.

Hiland then drove the ball down the court, finishing the play with an easy layup drive to the hoop, putting the Hawks up by two. Federal Hocking inbounded the ball to Cottrill who took the ball down the floor, passing it off to Airhart, but the ball slipped through his hands, giving Hiland possession with less than two seconds remaining.

The Lancers intentionally fouled, as the Hawks hit both of their free throws at the line. With time expiring, Caden Chapman threw the ball down the floor to try and make it into the net, but to no avail, as Hiland took the game 55-51 over Federal Hocking.

The Lancer community has so much to be proud of looking back on this season along with the great group of young men that they have. Head coach Jonathan Thompson talks more about this group and their campaign.

“They know that we’re not easy on them in practice and conditioning and all that kind of stuff, but it’s humbling to me that kids want to work that hard, get after it, and I’m proud of them”.

Andrew Airhart said, “Being able to be a part of this family, is what I call it, I know I said honor already, but it’s an honor”.

Federal Hocking has a large target to aim for next season, but this squad will be up for the opportunity.