TUPPERS PLAINS — The Federal Hocking Lancers have officially returned to the Tri-Valley Conference mountain top, but it took extra basketball on Tuesday to get there.
The Lancers held off the Eastern Eagles’ upset bid, earning a 61-53 double overtime victory in Meigs County.
The victory improved the Lancers’ record to 14-1 in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division. Federal Hocking (17-4 overall) has clinched no worse than a share of the league championship.
The Lancers are officially league champions for the first time since 2013.
The win wasn’t easy though, as the Eagles made Federal Hocking work for the second time this season.
Federal Hocking defeated Eastern 64-51 in the first meeting on Jan. 10, but trailed 37-35 before exploding for 29 fourth-quarter points.
The Lancers weren’t able to shake the Eagles until the second OT session in the rematch.
Eastern led 11-9 after one quarter on Tuesday, with Federal Hocking going ahead 23-21 by halftime. The Lancers led 36-30 going to the fourth quarter.
Eastern won the fourth quarter 16-10, sending the game to overtime tied at 46-46.
The first overtime didn’t settle matters, as a second overtime session was needed with the game tied at 49-49. Hunter Smith made a pair of free throws to force that 49-all deadlock.
Federal Hocking finally found some separation in the second overtime, leading 54-50 with 2:09 remaining.
Quinton Basim’s 3-pointer with more than a minute to play lifted Federal Hocking to a 57-50 lead.
The Lancers’ crowd chanted ‘TVC! TVC!’ as the final seconds ticked away in their 61-53 victory.
Smith led Federal Hocking with 17 points, making all six of his free throws during the overtime periods.
Elijah Lucas added 13 points, making 9 of 12 from the free throw line. Brad Russell scored 10 points on five 2-point field goals.
Collin Jarvis and Nathaniel Massie each scored five points, while Basim scored four points. Adam Douglas and Wes Carpenter each finished with three points.
Eastern was led by Colton Reynolds’ 18 points. Ryan Dill followed with 14 points, while Garrett Barringer added 13 points.
The Eagles fall to 10-11 overall, and 8-7 in the TVC-Hocking.
The league title is the 16th in program history for Federal Hocking, more than any other TVC school.
Twelve of those championships were won outright. The Lancers can finish as outright TVC-Hocking champions for the 2019-20 season if they defeat South Gallia on Friday inside McInturf Gymnasium.