STEWART — Everyone inside Federal Hocking’s McInturf Gymnasium seemingly held their breath as Berne Union’s Broc Unger released an open 3-pointer from the top of the key as the final seconds ticked away.
The Rockets had staged a furious comeback after trailing by 15 points in the fourth quarter. Unger’s 3-pointer would give Berne Union the lead, if it fell.
“My heart sank a little bit because it looked like it was on,” Federal Hocking coach Jonathan Thompson said. “Luckily it missed and we got a big rebound.”
Unger’s shot was just off the mark. Instead of the the Rockets celebrating a dramatic comeback, it was the Lancers who opened the season with a big 73-68 victory.
Federal Hocking returns its entire lineup from last year’s 6-18 squad. A win over the Rockets — a district champion in Division IV from a season ago — is certainly a sign that the Lancers can take another step forward this season.
Federal Hocking (1-0) showed depth against Berne Union (0-1), as three players hit double figures, seven players dented the scoring column and 10 players were used in the game.
Senior guard Quinton Basim had an opener to remember, scoring a game-high 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting. He made 4 of his 7 3-point attempts, adding five rebounds and three assists.
Basim played a limited role as a junior, but appeared ready to be a difference maker after Friday’s opener.
“He was huge,” Thompson said. “He’s actually been shooting the ball very well in practice, scrimmages. He’s come a long way since last year.
“He’s really, really bought into the team leadership. He was in control of our weight lifting. Very proud of that young man.”
Two leaders from last year — junior guard Hunter Smith and senior forward Brad Russell — also came up big.
Smith battled through foul trouble to finish with 21 points, while Russell had a double-double with 14 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks.
The Lancers needed the depth, as most of their starting lineup battled foul trouble at some point in the game.
“I knew with the aggressive style that we were playing, we were going to have to have depth because you’re going to have fouls in that situation,” Thompson said. “You get people out of position, that kind of thing. The depth is going to go a long way for us.”
The Lancers only trailed once — at 6-4 — and led throughout after Russell’s putback allowed them to lead 10-8 in the opening quarter.
Basim went nuts in the first half, his 3-pointer in the closing seconds allowing the Lancers to lead 37-29.
Basim had 15 points in the first half, making 6 of 8 shots from the field.
It appeared Federal Hocking would win going away after Adam Douglas set up Basim for a left-wing 3-pointer with 4:40 left in the fourth quarter. The shot hit nothing but net, allowing the Lancers to lead 67-52.
Unger and Chase McCartney would stage a comeback from there, nearly allowing the Rockets to steal the win.
Unger’s 3-pointer cut Federal Hocking’s lead to 67-57 with still 3:15 left. Unger and McCartney hit consecutive shots to trim the lead to 68-62, 1:40 remaining.
The Berne Union run was 13-1 after Brae Friesner’s basket, cutting Federal Hocking’s lead to 68-65 with less than a minute remaining.
“We’ve got to be smarter basketball players,” Thompson said. “I feel like we get in such a rhythm where we’re pushing the ball constantly, moving it real quick — we have to be smarter in those situations. Learn to back it off a little bit and execute our offense instead of throwing up whatever’s open. We’re going to have to work on that.”
The Rockets continued to make the Lancers sweat. Basim split a pair of free throws for a 69-65 lead with 45.7 seconds left.
However a steal led to an Unger basket in the paint to allow Berne Union to trail 69-68, 31.9 seconds still to play.
The Lancers were able to run time off the clock before Smith split a pair of free throws with 13.8 seconds left.
That led to Unger’s missed 3-pointer from the top of the key. The Lancers had the ball with 3.8 seconds left, and Nathaniel Massie would split a pair of free throws for a 71-68 lead.
The Rockets had to go the length of the court in an attempt to tie the game, but McCartney wasn’t able to handle an inbounds pass. The basketball went out of bounds for a turnover, giving the Lancers the ball with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Smith would be fouled, and he made two free throws with 0.8 seconds left to the final margin.
Unger filled the stat sheet for Berne Union with 21 points on 8 of 13 shooting, five rebounds, four steals, three assists and three blocks. McCartney added 12 points, four steals and four assists. Charlie Kline added nine points, six rebounds and three steals.
The Lancers shot well from the field, making 27 of 56 attempts for 48.2 percent. Federal Hocking forced Berne Union into 24 turnovers, but were also guilty of 27 turnovers.
Federal Hocking will get another week of practice before hosting Miller on Friday and Morgan on Saturday.
The Lancers debuted a brand new court at McInturf on Friday, then followed it up with a quality non-league win. All in all, it was an excellent start to the season.
“I hope that springs a winning atmosphere,” Thompson said. “I love the fact that we have an atmosphere here now. We have a nice student section. The crowd was good. Everyone was into it, and the kids buy into that. I hope that springs us in the right direction.”
Federal Hocking 73, Berne Union 68
Berne Union 15 14 15 24 — 68
Federal Hocking 21 16 10 17 — 73
BERNE UNION 68 (0-1)
Chase McCartney 7 3-8 17, Jacob Harmon 3 0-0 6, Charlie Kline 3 3-6 9, Levi Ross 1 0-0 2, Broc Unger 8 3-4 21, Landon Godenschwagner 2 0-2 4, Louie Stevens 0 1-2 1, Christian Callahan 2 0-0 4, Brae Friesner 1 2-4 4; TOTALS 27 12-26 68; 3-point field goals: 2 (Unger 2)
FEDERAL HOCKING 73 (1-0)
Hunter Smith 7 6-10 21, Collin Jarvis 1 0-0 3, Elijah Lucas 1 4-7 6, Quinton Basim 9 1-5 23, Brad Russell 7 0-0 14, Nathaniel Massie 1 1-2 3, Adam Douglas 1 0-0 2, Wes Carpenter 0 0-0 0, Terrell Mayle 0 0-0 0, Lane Smith 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 27 12-24 73; 3-point field goals: 7 (Basim 4, Smith 2, Jarvis 1)
TEAM STATISTICS/INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
Field goals — Berne Union 27-57 (.473), 3-point field goals 2-13 (.153); Federal Hocking 27-56 (.482), 3-point field goals 7-18 (.389); Free throws — Berne Union 12-26 (.461), Federal Hocking 12-24 (.500); Rebounds — Berne Union 32 (Harmon 9), Federal Hocking 38 (Russell 15); Assists — Berne Union 10 (Unger 3), Federal Hocking 13 (Jarvis, Basim 3 apiece); Blocks — Berne Union 4 (Unger 3), Federal Hocking 6 (Russell 3); Turnovers — Berne Union 24, Federal Hocking 27; Steals — Berne Union 17 (Unger 4), Federal Hocking 12 (Smith, Jarvis, Russell, Massie 2 apiece); Team fouls — Berne Union 22, Federal Hocking 24; JV game — Berne Union 50, Federal Hocking 36