Updated Tue, Feb 11, 2014 7:24 pm
With all the upsets, buzzer-beaters and postponed games the TVC-Hocking has given us this season, it is hard to believe that we are in the last week of the season. While Joe Burrow, Ibi Watson and the rest of the Athens Bulldogs have clinched their third TVC-Ohio championship in five years, the Hocking is keeping it interesting. In the final week of the season, each game between these teams are that more important, especially for the teams looking to head to the Convo as kings of the TVC-Hocking.
1. Waterford Wildcats
There will be a shake-up in the standings in this final week of the TVC-Hocking. Last week, I had the Southern Tornadoes being crowned as Hocking champions, but Waterford will have something to say about that.
The Wildcats will close out Hocking play against South Gallia, Belpre, Southern and Wahama, with the game against the Rebels being the only one on the road. Waterford is 5-2 at home on the season, and the games against Belpre and Wahama should be easy win for the Wildcats at home. The matchup against Southern will be the Hocking championship game. Southern won the first game on their home floor 62-51 on Jan. 8. With only a half a game currently separating these two teams, the home court advantage will put Waterford over Southern, ultimately crowning them as the Hocking champions.
2. Southern Tornadoes
This has to be one of the closest seasons in terms of finishes the Hocking has ever seen. After finishing fourth in the Hocking last season, the Tornadoes should not be disappointed in their turn-around this season. The Tornadoes will finish their season with match-ups against Miller, Belpre and Eastern before closing their season with the Hocking championship game against Waterford. The Tornadoes will have no trouble will Miller, Belpre and Eastern, but it will be their match-up against Waterford that will be on their mind.
The Tornadoes are a mediocre 4-4 on the road this season and their trip to Waterford will be their toughest game all season. The rowdy Wildcats fans will come out in full force, which will give them that extra advantage they need to win. The Tornadoes will lose six seniors after the season, but also have six juniors to replace them. Expect the Tornadoes to making another run at the TVC-Hocking crown next season as well.
3. Federal Hocking Lancers
Howie Caldwell and the Lancers started the season slow, winning only three of their first 9 games, but since then, they have arguably been the best team in the Hocking. The Lancers are 6-1 in their last seven Hocking games, including going 10-3 in 2014 thus far. Fed Hock only has one more game left this season, as the Trimble Tomcats will visit Stewart and Fed Hock will close the season with their fourth straight win against the Tomcats.
The Lancers are playing their best basketball at the right time, even without their starting point guard, Cliff Bonner. They are tough to beat at home and the way Trimble has played in their recent games, I just don’t see them beating the Lancers on the road. Look for the Lancers to make some serious noise in the tournament.
4. Trimble Tomcats
The ballers from Glouster will close out their season with four games in five days. As tough as that sounds, the Tomcats could have had it worse. Their last four games are against Eastern, Alexander, Federal Hocking and South Gallia. Their games against the Spartans and the Lancers will prove to be tough games for the Tomcats.
Alexander has had a decent season and are 4-5 in the TVC-Ohio, but with both of those games being on the road, it will be difficult for the Glouster boys to pull out the victories, especially with how well the Lancers have been playing at home. The games against Eastern and South Gallia should be easy wins, as both teams will be visiting Trimble, who is 5-3 at home. The win against South Gallia can be a good momentum boost, as the Tomcats will be getting ready for the tournament.
5. Belpre Golden Eagles
Since losing six of their eight games in the New Year, the 2012-13 Hocking runner-up has won two straight games. The Golden Eagles last four games of this season are all against Hocking foes Wahama, Southern, Miller and Waterford. Belpre should be able to split those games by pulling out victories over Wahama and Miller, two teams who have been struggling this season.
Southern and Waterford, however, are the two best teams in the Hocking this season and have proved it to every team. The Golden Eagles play the Tornadoes and Wildcats in a span of three days—with their game against Miller between them— and going up against stiff competition with little rest will be very difficult. I don’t see the Golden Eagles having enough in the tank in order to upset either team.
6. South Gallia Rebels
This season saw some improvements for Larry Howell and his Rebels after they finished eighth in the Hocking last season. South Gallia will close out Hocking play against Waterford, Miller and Trimble. The games against the Wildcats and the Tomcats will be tough challenges for the Rebels and hard for them to pull out a victory.
I know I said last week that it would be tough for South Gallia to pull out a W on the road against Miller, but Miller is 2-6 at home this season and it is possible for the Rebels to win that game. It will be a good clash between two teams who have struggled this season.
7. Wahama White Falcons
The White Falcons are in the bottom three of the Hocking standings for the second straight year. Wahama had a very slow start the season as they lost seven of their first nine games. The White Falcons only have two Hocking games left against Belpre and Waterford. Wahama lost against both of those teams in their first meetings and they will lose to both of them once again. Turnovers have been Wahama’s Achilles’ heel all season and unless they take care of the basketball, the White Falcons will continue to struggle.
8. Miller Falcons
After finishing third in the Hocking last season despite having a 9-13 record, the Falcons find themselves looking up the table after losing 10 of their last 12 games. Miller’s future isn’t looking too promising, as they lose five seniors after the season and five juniors returning next year. If you are Tome Bremer, you are hoping your returning juniors are getting all the experience for a turnaround next season. The lack of youth for the Miller Falcons could mean that the Falcons could be at the bottom of the Hocking for years to come.
9. Eastern Eagles
This has been a season that Jeremy Hill and his Eagles squad will not want to remember. Winning only two of their 19 games this season, almost everything has gone wrong for the boys in green and white, and it won’t get any easier. Though they did pick up their second win of the season against Wellston over the weekend, it will most likely be their last win of the season.
With games against the top Hocking teams Waterford, Trimble and Southern, Eastern should be looking to next season. They are only losing three seniors, and with the Facemeyer brothers, Dashle and Jett, leading the team next season, the Eagles’ future is looking promising.