TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — Oh, the irony.
The Eastern boys basketball team program, under Howie Caldwell, had lost only two league games in the previous two seasons, which enabled the Eagles to win a pair of Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division titles during that span.
Friday night in his first game back at the Eagles’ Nest since taking over the reins at Federal Hocking, Caldwell and the Lancers became the first TVC Hocking program to sweep Eastern in three years following a 51-27 decision in Meigs County.
The visiting Lancers (7-6, 6-4 TVC Hocking) shot 54 percent from the field and kept the Eagles (4-7, 2-7) under double digits in each of the four quarters, as the hosts made just eight field goals and shot 17 percent from the floor.
EHS fell behind 6-0 just two minutes into regulation, but responded with a 9-2 charge the rest of the period to take a 9-8 lead after eight minutes of play. The hosts broke an 8-all tie with a free throw at the 3:23 mark, then neither team scored the rest of the first canto.
FHHS captured the lead for good with the opening basket of the second quarter, as the guests claimed a 10-9 edge with 6:52 remaining in the half. That goal sparked a 21-5 surge over the next 6:20, giving the Lancers a comfortable 29-14 cushion with 32 seconds left.
Eastern’s Max Carnahan nailed a trifecta with 16 seconds left, allowing EHS to cut its halftime deficit down to 29-17. The Eagles, however, never came closer the rest of the way.
Federal Hocking held the hosts to just 10 second half points, including three in the third quarter, as the Lancers took a 43-20 advantage into the finale. FHHS led by as many as 26 points (46-20) early in the fourth and also EHS scoreless over the final 2:18 of regulation.
Fed Hock claimed a season sweep after posting a 43-41 decision back on Dec. 13 in Stewart. Before Friday, the last league teams to sweep Eastern were Southern and Waterford — both of which accomplished the feat during the 2008-09 campaign.
The Eagles connected on 8-of-46 field goal attempts overall, including a 5-of-17 effort from three-point range for 29 percent. The hosts were outrebounded 39-16 and also committed 15 turnovers, a dozen of which occurred in the middle frames.
Max Carnahan led EHS with a game-high 19 points, followed by Chris Bissell and Jacob Parker with three markers each. Chase Cook rounded out the scoring with two points. The Eagles were 6-of-16 at the free throw line for 38 percent.
Max Carney paced the Lancers with 13 points, followed by Chris Saylor with 10 points and Shawn Parsons with eight markers. FHHS committed 22 turnovers and made 20-of-37 shot attempts overall, including a 4-of-9 effort from three-point range for 44 percent. The guests were also 7-of-16 at the charity stripe for 44 percent.
Eastern, which has now dropped six straight decisions, returns to action Tuesday when it travels to South Gallia for a TVC Hocking matchup at 6 p.m.
Federal Hocking 51, Eastern 27
FH 8-21-14-8 — 51
E9-8-3-7 — 27
FEDERAL HOCKING (7-6, 6-4 TVC Hocking): Shawn Parsons 3 1-3 8, Corey Rex 2 0-0 5, Delbert Crum 1 0-0 2, Wes Dixon 2 0-0 5, Terrance Mayle 0 0-0 0, Alex Nichols 1 0-0 2, Austin Russell 1 0-4 2, Josh Coen 1 0-0 3, Max Carney 4 5-7 13, Tyler Hatfield 0 1-2 1, Chris Saylor 5 0-0 10. TOTALS: 20 7-16 51. Three-point goals: 4 (Parsons, Rex, Dixon, Coen). Field Goals: 20-37 (.541). Rebounds: 39 (Saylor 8). Turnovers: 22.
EASTERN (4-7, 2-7 TVC Hocking): Zakk Heaton 0 0-0 0, Max Carnahan 5 5-7 19, Chris Bissell 1 0-0 3, Christian Amsbary 0 0-2 0, Jacob Parker 1 1-2 3, Chase Cook 1 0-1 2, Justin Hill 0 0-2 0, Kirk Pullins 0 0-2 0, Ethan Steger 0 0-0 0, Daschle Facemyer 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 8 6-16 27. Three-point goals: 5 (Carnahan 4, Bissell). Field Goals: 8-46 (.174). Rebounds: 16 (Parker 4). Turnovers: 15.