STEWART, Ohio — A December to remember.
The Meigs boys basketball team moved to 9-0 in the final month of 2015 on Tuesday night in McInturf Gymnasium, as the Marauders claimed a 68-39 victory over non-conference host Federal Hocking.
Six minutes into the play, Meigs (9-0) and Federal Hocking (3-6) were deadlocked at eight, which was the third and final tie of the game. The Marauders ended the opening stanza with an 8-2 run, that included a pair of trifectas by Kaileb Sheets, and gave MHS a 16-10 advantage through eight minutes.
Federal Hocking senior Jason Gillian sank his second three-pointer of the second quarter at the 4:53 mark, a shot that cut the Lancer deficit to 24-20. Over the remainder of the first half, Meigs outscored its host 9-to-2 and pushed the advantage to 33-22 at halftime.
The Marauders came out of the break with the same intensity they ended the second quarter with, allowing MHS to increase the lead to 46-24 with a 13-to-2 run over the first 6:30 of the second half. Both teams scored four points over the final 1:30 of the third canto and Meigs led 50-28 headed into the finale.
Meigs scored 12 of the first 15 points in the fourth quarter, stretching the advantage to 62-31 with 4:50 left in regulation. With 2:08 remaining in the fourth, MHS junior Dillon Mahr hit a free throw that gave the Marauders their largest lead of the night at 68-35. The Lancers scored twice over the final two minutes of play and fell to Meigs by a 68-39 final.
“I thought our intensity was there and we did the right things,” second-year Marauders head coach Ed Fry said. “Federal Hocking played really hard, they never quit and that helped us keep our intensity going. Our defensive pressure just wears you down. We knew they weren’t very deep and we just wanted to keep the pace going fast. That’s the way we like to play and I think it took its toll on them.”
The victors were led by Sheets and Colton Lilly with 16 points apiece, followed by Mahr and Luke Musser with 10 each. Cameron Mattox marked nine points, Jared Kennedy added four, while Tyler Fields rounded out the MHS scoring with three points.
MHS senior Jaxon Meadows led the guests in rebounding with eight boards, followed by Mahr and Fields with seven each. Mahr dished out a team-best five assists, followed by Sheets with four and Mattox with three. Sheets — who missed Meigs’ last two contests due to his participation in a football all-star event — also led Meigs defensively with four steals and one blocked shot, while Lilly came up with four steals and Kennedy added one rejection.
“It was good to have (Sheets) back on the court again,” Fry said. “I thought he was a little rusty, but he made some really nice shots and good decisions out there. In his absence we had some kids step up and play, so you’ll notice we’re a solid eight-deep because of that. It was really a good thing that we were able to win without him, and now we have him back plus some depth.”
For the game Meigs shot 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) from the free throw line and 27-of-69 (39.1 percent) from the field, including 3-of-14 (21.4 percent) from beyond the arc. As a team the guests had 24 defensive rebounds, 11 offensive boards, 15 assists, 15 steals, two blocks and nine turnovers.
Gillian led the Lancers with 11 points, followed by Carter Russell with 10 and A.J. Cobb with seven. Jared Hawk marked five points, Randy Lantz added four, while Ryan Harvey posted two in the loss. FHHS was just 5-of-12 (41.7 percent) on free throw attempts in the setback.
Meigs, which has an average margin of victory of 17.9 points per game this season, returns to action on Saturday when Eastern visits Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.