STEWART, Ohio — That’s just the way the ball bounces.
With time winding down the Southern boys basketball team was tied at 37 with Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Federal Hocking, Friday night at McInturf Gymnasium. Lancers senior A.J. Cobb banked in a fade away jumper from the left high post as time expired, giving the hosts a 39-37 victory.
The Tornadoes (0-2, 0-1 TVC Hocking) fell behind 12-4 through the first eight minutes of play, and Federal Hocking (1-1, 1-0) held a 16-9 lead early in the second quarter. Southern scored 17 of the next 18 points, which gave the guests a 26-17 lead in the third quarter.
The Lancers scored 11 straight points to end the third with a 28-26 lead. The FHHS lead was short-lived however, and Southern was back on top 35-30 with 3:33 to remaining in regulation. Cobb executed a three-point play with 2:45 remaining, tying the game at 35, but SHS junior Blake Johnson sank a pair of free throws just five seconds later, reestablishing the Tornado advantage.
With 47 seconds left in regulation Cobb stole the ball, drove to the hoop and layed it in to tie the game at 37. The Tornadoes, who had the ball coming out of a timeout with 15.6 seconds left, committed a turnover in the backcourt, giving the ball to FHHS with 7.9 on the clock. Cobb, who finished with a team-high 18 points, sank the buzzer beater infront of the Lancer bench, giving the hosts a 39-37 victory.
Southern was led by junior Crenson Rogers with 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while Johnson finished with nine points. Trey Pickens had four markers in the setback, while Clayton Wood, Kody Greene and Jaylen Blanks rounded out the SHS scoring with two points each. Johnson, Rogers and Jonah Hoback led the Southern defense with three steals apiece.
The Tornadoes were 15-of-23 (65.2 percent) from the free throw line and 11-of-29 (37.9 percent) from the field, including 0-5 from three-point range. As a team the Purple and Gold had 26 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, 14 steals, 14 fouls and 25 turnovers.
Following Cobb for the Lancers were Carter Russell with 11 points, Ryan Harvey with seven, Randy Lantz with two and Deakin Dickerson with one. Russell led FHHS on the glass with 14 rebounds, while Cobb marked a game-high five steals.
Federal Hocking shot 9-of-17 (52.9 percent) from the free throw line and 14-of-48 (29.2 percent) from the field, including 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) from beyond the arc. As a team the Maroon and Gold had 38 rebounds, three assists, one block, 10 steals, 22 fouls and 26 turnovers.
Southern will look for revenge on January 15, when the Lancers visit Racine. The Tornadoes return to the court on Tuesday when Waterford travels to Meigs County.
Kevin Wiseman, sports editor at the Athens Messenger, contributed to this report.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.