STEWART — Federal Hocking coach Jeremy Tolson said his Lancers had to get back to the basics after Monday’s 63-43 loss at South Gallia.
“I told them that if they did the little things like the screens, the check outs and the rebounding and not fouling as much, the things that we can control, that I said they can be in the game,” Tolson said. “And if you’re in the game, anything can happen.”
Federal Hocking did those little things on Thursday, pulling off one of the upsets of the year so far in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division.
The Lancers rallied back to stun the Trimble Tomcats, 62-57, at McInturf Gymnasium.
Junior point guard Paige Tolson had 24 points, 13 rebounds, five steals and five assists as the Lancers handed Trimble its first league defeat of the season.
“Every kid that came in gave us quality minutes,” Jeremy Tolson said. “That’s what happens when you work hard.”
Federal Hocking ended the game on a 15-2 run over the final 6:17 of the game, erasing an eight-point deficit.
The Tomcats (11-3 overall) fell to 9-1 inside the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division. Trimble’s closest league game was eight points, and eight of its victories came by double figures. The Tomcats defeated the Lancers 55-38 win in the first meeting, but couldn’t shake them in the rematch.
“Fed played a little harder than us tonight, overall,” Trimble coach Joe Richards said. “Not that we didn’t play hard. We played hard in spurts, but I thought Fed played harder than us. Obviously, they made some shots from everybody it seemed like.”
Federal Hocking (6-8, 6-4 TVC-Hocking) was certainly hot from the perimeter, making 11 3-pointers in 30 attempts. Anytime the Tomcats seemed to gain momentum, the Lancers would answer with a long-range make.
None were bigger than the two that Brooklyn Richards and Emma Beha made to stall a big Tomcats’ run.
Trimble led 55-47 after two Jayne Six free throws with 6:17 to play. The Tomcats were on a 27-12 run at that point, turning a seven-point third-quarter deficit into an eight-point lead. It was starting to look like the final outcome would be another TVC-Hocking win for Trimble.
That’s when Richards and Beha each hit a 3-pointer — the 10th and 11th trifectas of the game for Federal Hocking — to pull the Lancers to within 55-53 with will 4:02 remaining.
“Give them all the credit in the world, they hit them when they had too,” Richards said.
With the lead down to one point at 55-54, Paige Tolson came up with another huge play.
She anticipated a Tomcat pass and collected a steal around the foul line. In the blink of an eye, she was heading the other way, hitting a shot in the lane while drawing the foul.
Tolson would miss the free throw, but the Lancers suddenly led 56-55 with 3:09 remaining.
Paige Tolson was a thorn in the Tomcats’ side all night. She made a trio of 3s in the first quarter, scoring 11 of Federal Hocking’s first 16 points to set the tone for the game.
Richards said the plan was to keep Tolson out of the paint, but it became a difficult task as the Lancers made 3-pointer after 3-pointer.
“Our plan was, get a foot in the paint. Then if we did help, obviously the kick and now they’re hitting,” Richards said. “So which way do you want to go? They knocked down some shots.”
The Lancers went ahead 57-55 with 1:01 left after Beha split a pair of free throws.
Trimble’s Laikyn Imler missed a 3-pointer on the other end, and Tiffany Allen made a pair of huge free throws for a 59-55 advantage with 44.2 seconds remaining, a 12-0 Federal Hocking run.
The Tomcats still had a chance. Six made two free throws with 28.4 seconds left, then Trimble got the ball back trailing 60-57 after Tolson split a pair of free throws.
Trimble got a good look to potentially tie the game. Briana Orsborne had a 3-pointer from the right wing, but it went long. Tolson would make the final two free throws in the closing seconds for the five-point margin.
“The last play of the game, we set that up for Bri,” Richards said. “Like I told her, I wouldn’t change a thing. We executed that play to perfection. I figured they would jump on (Emily) Young, and Bri got a good look. We have all the confidence in the world in her.”
The Lancers came up with a defensive scheme that ultimately paid off. They had defenders face guarding Orsborne and Young, denying them the basketball at every turn.
The other three defenders crowded the paint against Six, forcing others to shoot the basketball.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about the game, just because they’ve got five or six kids who can come in and play,” Jeremy Tolson said. “You’re kind of damned if you do, damned if you don’t on certain situations. If you help on Young, you’re going to leave Orsborne, and if you leave Orsborne, she’s going to hit 3s and if you take them both away, then you have to deal with Jayne underneath. Then if you get a slower kid on Laikyn she can kill you because she finishes well around the rim and she’s very fast.”
Federal Hocking went ahead 35-28 after Paige Tolson completed a three-point play on a drive to the basket.
The Tomcats then had their best stretch of basketball, led by Imler.
Imler pushed the pace, often getting the ball down the court before the Lancers’ defense could set up. Trimble scored 25 third-quarter points on 10 of 13 shooting to lead 51-47.
Imler led Trimble with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Imler helped continue Trimble’s run when she opened the fourth by scoring on a drive to the basket. However, the Tomcats would only score six fourth-quarter points, making the Lancers’ comeback possible.
“Jeremy, he out-coached us tonight and he had a good game plan,” Richards said.
Six scored 14 points — 12 coming in the second half — adding 17 rebounds and four blocked shots. Young scored eight points, Emily Calentine eight points and Orsborne six points and nine rebounds.
Alexis Smith was a huge part of the Lancers’ big shooting night. She finished with 12 points, all coming on 3-pointers. Richards added 10 points, making two 3-pointers of her own. Beha added seven points and nine rebounds.
The loss ends a three-game losing streak for the Lancers against the Tomcats, and serves as a reminder that they can compete with any team in the TVC-Hocking.
“As far as what I’ve seen, Trimble’s probably the best team in the TVC,” Jeremy Tolson said. “One of the best teams in the area.
“At the end of the day, the difference is the girls worked hard. They worked really hard. That is really all the difference and I’m very proud of them.”
The Tomcats still have a game lead over Waterford for first place in the TVC-Hocking, but lost some of the breathing room they had over the Wildcats.
Trimble is still in good position with six leagues games remaining, but Richards emphasized the fact that the Tomcats are now the hunted team that will get everyone’s best shot the rest of the way.
“You go through the first round (of league games) undefeated, everybody wants to beat us now,” he said. “We’re at the top, everybody wants to beat us. Now tonight, I don’t want to say good things happen after a loss, but now they know. We better come ready to practice (Friday). Hopefully we’ll learn from this and come ready to play when we tip off every game now.”
Federal Hocking 62, Trimble 57
Trimble 15 11 25 6 — 57
Federal Hocking 20 12 15 15 — 62
TRIMBLE 57 (11-3, 9-1 TVC-Hocking)
Laikyn Imler 7 2-2 18, Riley Campbell 1 0-2 1, Briana Orsborne 2 1-2 6, Emily Young 4 0-1 9, Jayne Six 5 4-5 14, Emily Calentine 3 0-0 8, Sophia Ives 0 0-0 0, Ashlynn Hardy 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 22 7-11 57; 3-point field goals: 6 (Imler, Calentine 2 apiece, Orsborne, Young 1 apiece)
FEDERAL HOCKING 62 (6-8, 6-4 TVC-Hocking)
Tiffany Allen 1 2-2 4, Alexis Smith 4 0-0 12, Kylie Tabler 1 0-0 3, Paige Tolson 7 7-10 24, Emma Beha 2 2-4 7, Brooklyn Richards 3 2-3 10, Makynlee Baker 0 0-0 0, Ava Tate 1 0-0 2, Lydia Beha 0 0-0 0; TOTALS 19 13-19 62; 3-point field goals: 11 (Smith 4, Tolson 3, Richards 2, Tabler, Emma Beha 1 apiece)
TEAM STATISTICS/INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
Field goals — Trimble 22-59 (.373), 3-point field goals 6-19 (.316); Federal Hocking 19-51 (.373), 3-point field goals 11-30 (.367); Free throws — Trimble 7-11 (.636), Federal Hocking 13-19 (.684); Rebounds — Trimble 42 (Six 17), Federal Hocking 30 (Tolson 13); Assists — Trimble 9 (Imler 5), Federal Hocking 10 (Tolson 5); Blocks — Trimble 6 (Six 4), Federal Hocking 2 (Emma Beha 2); Turnovers — Trimble 14, Federal Hocking 15; Steals — Trimble 7 (Campbell 3), Federal Hocking 7 (Tolson 5); Team fouls — Trimble 15, Federal Hocking 11