Federal Hocking fends off Belpre surge

BELPRE – Visiting Federal Hocking staved off Belpre comeback efforts both early and late in the fourth quarter to top the Golden Eagles 57-52 in a TVC Hocking Division boys basketball game Thursday night.

After a close first half, Alfie Nichols – with two treys from opposite corners – and Ivan Santiago – with four points – sparked a 12-1 third-quarter run that propelled the Lancers ahead by 10, 40-30, with 46.6 seconds left.

After Belpre’s Deijon Bedgood’s three-point play at the 25-second mark closed the gap to 40-33 at the quarter break, the Golden Eagles started the fourth quarter with a 6-0 spurt to quickly narrow the point gap to just one at 40-39 with still 6:29 remaining.

Federal responded with a 11-2 run of its own to surge out to another 10-point bulge, 51-41, with 3:46 to play.

A trey by Logan Plummer and a steal for a layup by Bedgood reduced the margin to five at 51-46 with 2:29 to go, and with the score still the same with under a minute left, Belpre had to foul to try and get the ball back. The Lancers’ Taylor Gates and Nichols each sank two free throws at 47.1 and 25 seconds respectively to up the count to 54-46.

But the Golden Eagles weren’t done yet. Nick Therriault and Brennen Ferrell each drained treys in a 10-second span from 15.8 to 5.9, sandwiched around a Federal foul shot, to make it a three-point (55-52) game. Belpre, though, had to foul immediately now and Gates hit two free throws at 5.3 seconds for the final margin of victory.

The Lancers, now 10-8 overall, were led on the night by Nichols with 14 points, followed by Peyton Seel with 13, Santiago with 10 and Delbert Crum with nine.

For the Golden Eagles, now 6-10 overall, Plummer led with 13 points, with Ferrell notching 12, Therriault nine and Bedgood eight.

“Of course, we’ve not had the opportunity to have too many nine, 10-point leads this season,” said Federal head coach Howie Caldwell. “So tonight when we got up by that much, we went soft – had some mental mistakes and little turnovers that we shouldn’t make.”

“But like I say, it’s a win,” noted Caldwell. “We’ll forget about the bad parts – for now – and move on to tomorrow night,” when the Lancers are back on the road at Miller.

For Belpre, “our kids fought hard the entire game,” said Golden Eagle head coach Jordan Thornhill. “I was proud of their efforts tonight – no question.

“When we have an aggressive mindset, we’re a pretty good team. But we lose our aggression with the first sign of adversity. But we’re a young team, we’re inexperienced still, and we’ve lost a bunch of close games. But I’m proud of how they gave us a chance there at the end tonight.”