Prep boys basketball: Cats fall to Fed Hock Lancers, 43-35

WATERFORD – The Wildcats started off strong but could not pull away from Federal Hocking as the Lancers escaped with a 43-35 victory Friday night at Waterford High School.

Waterford was ahead 13-7 at the end of the first quarter, but the Lancers used a 14-5 second quarter to shift the momentum their way and were able to maintain the lead throughout the second half to get a Tri Valley Conference road win.

Federal Hocking head coach Howie Caldwell said the team has a lot it can improve on.

“To be perfectly honest, our last two games we haven’t played the way we’ve wanted to play,” Caldwell said. “I think we play scared at times. I think we come out afraid to do things, fearful of making a mistake.

“Defensively, we played pretty well. Offensively we’re not getting it done.”

Austin Shriver and Wyatt Porter each made shots to jump out to a 4-0 lead. After a bucket from Federal Hocking’s Max Carrey, Cody Paxton hit a layup and then Brian Moore went coast-to-coast for another layup to extend the lead to 8-2.

Pete Crum, who led the Lancers with 15 points, converted an old-fashioned three point play to cut the deficit in half. Waterford kept the pressure on, as Shriver, who also had 15 points, hit a deep 3. On the next possession, Eli Strahler found Moore wide open under the basket for an easy basket to make it 13-5. Crum would hit a jumper to make it 13-7 going into the second quarter.

The Wildcats still looked to have the edge in the second quarter after Shriver found Porter open at the wing. Porter knocked down the trey to make it 16-9 before Federal Hocking reeled off seven straight points, four from Carrey, to tie it at 16-16.

Shriver put in a layup to make it 18-16 before Crum hit a 3-pointer to give the Lancers their first lead of the contest. With 54 seconds left to go in the half, Shawn Parsons splashed two foul shots following a technical foul on Waterford to make it 21-18 at halftime.

The first half was very evenly-matched, as each team was 8-for-17 shooting with 11 turnovers.

Midway through the third quarter, Porter drained a jumper to tie things up at 25-25. Federal Hocking then used an 8-1 run, seven of those points coming from Crum, to take back the lead at 33-26 in the fourth quarter.

Shriver momentarily stopped the bleeding by hitting a trio of free throws to make it 33-29 before Alfy Nichols answered with a layup.

Later, two Shriver free throws made it 37-33 before Federal Hocking scored five straight points to put the game out of reach.

“We came out and played pretty well,” said Waterford head coach Tom Simms. “We were playing pretty steady at times, and then coach Caldwell hit the pressure, and we were okay at first, but then we started throwing the ball away and making turnovers. We kind of got rattled and got ourselves in trouble.”

The Lancers shot 16-for-37 (43 percent) from the floor including 14-for-23 inside the 3-point line, while the Wildcats were 13-for-37 (35 percent).

Carrey contributed a double-double for the Lancers with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Parsons added 10 points.

For Waterford, Porter and Paxton each had seven points, while Shriver was the top rebounder with six boards. Moore had a well-rounded game, pitching in four points, five rebounds, three steals and a game-high three assists. Federal Hocking improved to 7-3 with the win. “I think it’s very big,” Caldwell said of getting a conference road win. “Anytime you go on the road in this league it’s very important to get a win. I think that puts us a game up on everybody in the league.”

Waterford dropped to 4-2 with the loss. Simms said he was confident in the direction that the team is headed in. “We’re a young team,” he explained. “And they’re doing alright. We’ve just got to keep growing.”

In the junior varsity game, Waterford was victorious by a score of 32-31. Tryston Crawford made the deciding shot with :09.1 on the clock.

The Wildcats are back in action today at 6 p.m. when they head to Beverly to take on Fort Frye.