ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — It’s all about timing.
Meigs picked the right time to play its best in Saturday’s non-conference boys basketball game inside Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium, as the Marauders closed their 57-46 victory over Eastern with a 15-to-2 run.
After a pair of lead changes in the first four minutes of play, Meigs (8-12) opened up a 10-6 advantage by the end of the first quarter.
Eastern (7-12) began the second period with a 12-to-3 run and led 18-13 by the midway point of the quarter. However, the Marauders ended the half with a 10-to-5 spurt, tying the game at 23.
The Eagles began the second half with a 9-to-4 run, but once again Meigs fought back and tied the game at 39 by the end of the stanza.
After an MHS triple to open the fourth, Eastern scored the next five points and led 44-42 with 6:01 to play. The Eagles were held to just a pair of free throws after that, however, with Meigs hitting five field goals and five free throws over the final six minutes to seal the 57-46 victory.
“We went back to our bread and butter, the 1-3-1, and the guys just picked up the intensity,” MHS head coach Ed Fry said of the game clinching run. “I thought Nick Lilly in particular really came out and pressured the ball, and made them go a little faster than they wanted to. Then we rebounded. If you only hold them to one shot, you’re going to come out alright most of the time.
“This group executes well in pressure situations, like the end of the game, way beyond their years. If you can rebound with somebody you can compete with them, we say that virtually every game going in.”
The Maroon and Gold outrebounded their guest by a 30-to-23 count in the game, including 12-to-8 on the offensive end. Meigs held Eastern without the benefit of an offensive board in the second half, and the hosts earned an 8-to-4 edge in fourth quarter rebounds.
“I want to be able to say that we ran out of gas, but we didn’t,” Eastern head coach Jeremy Hill said. “We reverted back to ourselves, where we just lose our minds in close ball games and can’t finish them. The boys had very good effort after playing last night, you could understand that the energy level might be low. Hats’ off to Meigs, they played start to finish. They never got flustered and that’s what happened to us, we became undisciplined.”
In the game, Eastern committed seven turnovers, four fewer than Meigs. The Eagles held a 3-to-2 edge in steals, with both teams rejecting a shot. The Marauders claimed a 16-to-13 advantage in assists after recording six in the final period.
“Anytime we play Eastern or Southern they’re going to come in and bring everything they’ve got,” Fry said. “They played really hard, especially after a tough loss last night. It was a huge win, anytime you’re playing a county rival it’s always good.”
The Marauders hit 20-of-46 (43.5 percent) field goal attempts, including 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) three-point tries, while the Eagles shot 17-of-48 (35.4 percent) from the field, including 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from deep. At the free throw line, MHS was 14-of-21 (66.7 percent) and EHS was 9-of-17 (52.9 percent).
“It’s been our Achilles’ heel all year, not being able to hit outside shots,” Coach Hill said. “We did a little bit tonight, I think we might have hit 2-or-3, but that’s still not enough. We got killed on our penetration and we got stagnant for the last 3-or-4 minutes of the game on offense, where weren’t moving as much.”
MHS sophomore Weston Baer was responsible for all-3 of the team’s three-pointers and finished with a game-high 21 points, 17 of which came in the second half. Zach Bartrum was next with 15 points, after making 7-of-8 free throws.
Bobby Musser contributed eight points and a team-high nine rebounds to the winning cause, Wyatt Hoover chipped in with six points, while Lilly added five points and seven assists. Jake Roush rounded out the Marauder total with two points in the triumph.
Bartrum and Hoover each had an assist for the MHS defense, while Musser rejected a shot.
EHS sophomore Colton Reynolds hit a pair of three-pointers and led the Eagle offense with 18 points. Isaiah Fish and Kaleb Hill both scored 10 points for the guests, with Fish making one triple and Hill recording team-highs of 11 rebounds and four assists. Garrett Barringer marked six points and Sharp Facemyer scored two, capping off Eastern’s total.
Kaleb Hill led the EHS defensive effort with three steals and a rejection.
Meigs continues non-league play on Tuesday when it welcomes Chillicothe.
“I’m looking forward to them coming in, it’ll be a great test for our guys” Fry said of Chillicothe. “They have a couple guys who can really drive the ball hard, and we need to work on that with our zone. I want to see if we can rebound with them, you never know.”
The Eagles next two games are against Federal Hocking, as they visit FHHS on Tuesday and then host the Lancers on Thursday.
“We’re going to go in this last week, we have three more games to prepare for,” Coach Hill said. “When tournament time comes it doesn’t matter what your record was, it’s back to zero-and-zero. It’s back to who wants to win the basketball game that given night more than the other team.”
The Marauders have now won three straight over the Eagles in head-to-head meetings, with Eastern’s last win in the series coming on Jan. 31, 2015, by a 72-71 count at ‘The Nest.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.