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Strong second half sparks Hornets to sectional title

Coal Grove Hornets’ Aaron Music (1) goes in for a dunk during a 70-42 win over Federal Hocking on Tuesday in the Division IV sectional finals. (Photo Courtesy of Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

ROCKSPRINGS — A different Coal Grove Hornets team showed up at halftime.
Trailing underdog Federal Hocking at halftime, the Hornets looked like a different team in the second half as they cruised to a 70-42 win over the Lancers to win the Division IV sectional title on Tuesday.
“We played as bad as we could in the first half and then we turned it up in the second half and played as well as we could,” said Hornets’ coach Kevin Vanderhoof.
“I was worried because we had an 11-day layoff. You don’t know what to expect. It’s hard to keep your focus. But I was proud of them.”
Coal Grove (17-6) will play Leesburg Fairfield/St. Joseph at 5:30 p.m. Sunday in the district semifinals at Ohio University’s Convocation Center.
The Hornets were up 14-12 after the first quarter as Cory Borders hit a pair of 3-pointers while Evan Gannon and Peyton Smith had one each.
Hunter Smith and Collin Jarvis hit 3-pointers for the Lancers.
Federal Hocking used seven pints by Wes Carpenter to rally for a 25-24 halftime lead. Aaron Music scored six in the quarter for the Hornets.
But then came the second half.
After making only 9-of-32 shots in the first half, the Hornets were 16-of-32 in the second half.
“We got any shot we wanted in the first half, we just didn’t make them. We rushed things and then we finally settled down in the second half,” said Vanderhoof.
The Hornets full-court as well as half-court pressure forced turnovers and missed shots that helped get the offense in gear. Coal Grove forced the Lancers to commit 31 turnovers.
Coal Grove scored 18 unanswered points to begin the second half.
Borders made a foul shot and hit two more 3-pointer to start the run.
Jaylen McKenzie had a steal that he turned into a three-point play for a 40-25 lead.
Borders drained a third triple before Carpenter scored to halt the run.
But Borders made his fourth trey of the quarter and it was 46-27 with 1:14 on the clock.
Ian Miller had a three-point play for the Lancers and it was 46-30 at the end of the quarter.
Coal Grove kept its foot on the accelerator as Gannon hit a 3-pointer, Music two foul shots and Borders had a steal and layup for a 53-30 lead to start the fourth quarter.
Gannon’s foul shot put the lead at 54-34 before Miller finally made two foul shots for the Lancers.
A putback by Brad Russell got the Lancers the closest they would get the rest of the game with the exception of the final score, 55-38.
Borders hit a baseline shot and Music’s driving layup opened up a 63-41 lead and the two teams began to empty their benches.
Borders hit six 3-pointers as he scored a game-high 25 points to pace the Hornets. Music had a huge game overall with 17 points, 11 rebounds, eight steals, four assists and three blocked shots.
Gannon and McKenzie adding eight points each.
Carpenter scored 11 points for the Lancers (6-18). Smith and Russell got eight each.
Fed. Hocking 12 13 5 12 = 47
Coal Grove 14 10 22 24 = 70
FEDERAL HOCKING (6-18): Hunter Smith 1 2 0-0 8, Wes Carpenter 5 0 1-1 11, Collin Harvis 1 1 0-0 5, Qinton Basim 0 0 0-0 0, Elijah Lucas 1 0 0-0 2, Adam Douglas 0 0 0-0 0, Ian Miller 2 0 3-3 7, Brad Russell 4 0 0-5 8. Totals: 14 3 5-11 42. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None.
COAL GROVE (17-6): Aaron Music 6 0 5-7 17, Cory Borders 3 6 1-2 25, Evan Gannon 0 2 2-2 8, Nate Harmon 1 0 0-2 2, Tait Matney 0 0 0-0 0, Kyle Sites 1 0 1-1 3, Jarren Hicks 0 0 0-0 0, Malachi Wheeler 0 0 0-0 0, Jaylen McKenzie 3 0 2-3 8, Justin Hicks 0 0 0-0 0, Trevor Hankins 0 0 0-0 0, Trevor Carey 1 0 0-0 2, Payton Smith 0 1 0-0 3. Totals: 25-64 11-17 70. 3-pt goals: 9. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: None.