Second quarter surge separates Lancers from ’Cats

STEWART – A 12-0 run during a three minute span late in the first half proved to be the turning point in Friday night’s game between Federal Hocking and Waterford.

Tied at 19-all with four minutes remaining in the second period, the Lancers scored 12 unanswered points, nine coming from Pete Crum, to put the Wildcats in a double-digit hole at halftime.

Waterford went to work in the second half, cutting the deficit down to just two points three separate times, but turnovers kept the Wildcats from completing the comeback as Federal Hocking won 54-45.

“We couldn’t finish,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “When you’ve got the momentum…you’ve got to finish. Can’t turn it over. Had (the deficit) at 2, had the ball, and turned it over. (The deficit) went to 4, and that’s game. Then we had to start fouling.

“We’ve got to become disciplined on the floor.”

The loss dropped Waterford’s record to 8-5 overall and 7-3 in the TVC-Hocking, while the Lancers improved to 8-6 and 5-4 in what was their fifth straight victory.

“I think if they’d have tied it or gotten ahead, it might have been a different outcome,” Federal Hocking coach Howie Caldwell said of Waterford’s rally. “That’s why I was very proud of our kids tonight because they didn’t allow that to occur. When they had to make a big foul shot or make a big bucket, they did that.”

Federal Hocking was sloppy with the ball at times (25 turnovers), but overcame it by shooting well (42 percent, 16-for-38) and grabbing a lot of rebounds (32). The Lancers were also able to get to the foul line often, hitting 16-of-24 foul shots.

On the other end, the Wildcats collected 27 rebounds, shot 32 percent (19-for-59) and converted just 4-of-7 free throws. Some poor shot selections in the second period led to Federal Hocking’s big run.

“When we ran our offense, when we attacked, we scored,” Simms said. “When we got in a hurry (in the second quarter) we started launching, we started getting helter skelter-minded…that’s poor discipline.”

Trystan Crawford tallied a game-high 18 points to lead Waterford. Teammate Cody Paxton chipped in with 16 markers, as 34 of the Wildcats’ 45 points came from those two players. Paxton also notched 11 rebounds to give him a double-double. The Lancers were led by Ivan Santiago’s 17 points. Crum and Alex Nichols added 15 and 13, respectively.

Down 10 coming out of the half, Waterford wasted no time climbing back.

Crawford hit a pull-up jumper followed by a Mitch Ginther free throw to make it a 7-point game, 31-24.

Later, Ginther hit two more freebies followed by three straight points from Crawford to bring Waterford within four, 33-29. Alex Nichols slowed the Wildcats’ momentum a bit by knocking down a 3, but Crawford answered with a triple of his own and then put in a 2-point basket following a Fed Hock turnover to cut it to 36-34.

It looked like the Lancers were ready to pull away for good, though, as Jon Snyder and Santiago each hit a pair of free throws before Nichols drained another big trey to stretch it to a 7-point lead, 43-36, with one quarter to go.

The green and white refused to go down without a fight, however, as Crawford netted five straight points on a 3 and a layup to open the fourth quarter. After Crum hit a pair of freebies, Wyatt Porter found Paxton open underneath for a layup to make the score 45-43 with 3:40 left.

After Nichols hit two foul shots, both teams went back and forth on the defensive end for nearly two minutes, keeping the score at 47-43. After draining the clock down to 1:23, Peyton Seel drove the lane and made an acrobatic layup to make it a 6-point game. Paxton responded with a putback basket, but Federal Hocking made five free throws and held Waterford scoreless the rest of the way to earn the W.