MASON, W.Va. — So much for the home court advantage.
After picking up a 59-39 win in Stewart five days earlier, the Wahama boys basketball team had the tables turned Thursday night following a 61-50 setback to visiting Federal Hocking in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Mason County.
The host Falcons (7-10, 6-8 TVC Hocking) never led in the contest, as the Lancers (13-8, 10-5) stormed out to early leads of 5-0 and 12-2 before securing a 19-7 edge after eight minutes of play.
WHS responded with an 8-1 surge to start the second quarter, allowing the hosts to close the gap down to 20-15 with just under six minutes left in the half. FHHS, however, ended the final 5:30 of the second period with a 15-4 charge, allowing the guests to take a 35-19 advantage into the intermission.
Wahama made a valiant comeback run in the third stanza, as the hosts made a 17-6 surge over the opening six minutes to pull to within 41-36. Fed Hock countered with a small 3-2 run to secure a 44-38 lead headed into the finale.
Federal Hocking made a small 4-2 run in the opening three minutes to extend its lead out to 48-40, but a Hunter Rose trifecta once again allowed WHS to close to within two possession at 48-43 with 4:15 left.
Both teams went scoreless for the next 1:15, then the Lancers made a quick 5-0 run to extend their lead back out to double digits at 53-43 with two minutes remaining.
Wyatt Zuspan hit back-to-back trifectas as part of a 6-1 run, which allowed Wahama to cut the deficit back down to two possessions for the final time at 54-49 with just over 60 seconds left. The hosts were never closer the rest of the way.
Federal Hocking closed the final minute with a 7-0 spurt, allowing the guests to secure a season split with the 11-point victory. The Lancers’ biggest lead of the night came at 34-17 with 1:15 left in the first half.
Wahama connected on 15-of-42 field goal attempts for 36 percent, including a 5-of-17 effort from three-point range for 29 percent. The hosts committed 12 turnovers and were also 15-of-19 at the free throw line for 79 percent.
Wyatt Zuspan led WHS with a game-high 25 points, followed by Hunter Bradley with 10 points and Hunter Rose with six markers. Brent Larck was next with five points, while Michael Hendricks and Ryan Thomas rounded out the scoring with two markers apiece.
The Lancers were 21-of-45 from the field for 47 percent, including a 7-of-18 effort from behind the arc for 39 percent. FHHS committed 12 turnovers and went 16-of-23 at the charity stripe for 70 percent.
Taylor Gates paced the victors with 13 points, followed by Jonathan Snyder with 12 points and Ivan Santiago with nine markers. Pete Crum and A.J. Cobb also chipped in eight and seven points, respectively.