ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — More than just a bruised ego.
Visiting Alexander matched a physical style of play with a 17-6 third quarter surge that all but sealed the deal on a 56-38 victory over the Meigs girls basketball team Monday night in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division contest at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium in Meigs County.
The Lady Marauders (5-2, 1-2 TVC Ohio) stumbled out to a quick eight-point deficit a little over three minutes into regulation, but the hosts gathered themselves and strung together 13-4 surge over the final 4:42 to secure a slim 13-12 edge through one period of play.
The Lady Spartans (4-1, 2-1) — who led by as many as 10 points in the opening canto — found themselves in a two-possession deficit (16-12) following a Marissa Noble trifecta at the 7:07 mark, but the Red and Black answered with an 8-2 surge over the next two minutes en route to a 20-18 edge.
The Maroon and Gold, however, countered with a 6-3 run over the final 4:13 of the half … and Becca Pullins capped the Meigs spurt with a basket that gave the hosts a 24-23 lead with 39 seconds remaining.
Meigs — which shot 47 percent from the field in the first half — had four turnovers, one made free throw and one successful shot attempt four minutes into the third, yet still found themselves deadlocked at 27-all.
From there, the Lady Spartans responded with a Kara Meeks basket at the 3:43 mark — giving the guests a permanent lead of 29-27. The Meeks bucket also sparked a 13-3 charge that allowed AHS to take a comfortable 40-30 cushion into the finale.
Alexander opened the fourth with six quick points and built the lead as high as 56-35 with 2:10 left in regulation. Meigs closed the game with the final three points to wrap up the 18-point outcome.
The hosts ended up only 2-of-10 from the field during that pivotal third frame, which included misses on all five of their 3-point attempts.
The Lady Spartans, conversely, nailed 6-of-11 floor shots and received a perfect 3-of-3 effort from Jadyn Mace on shots from behind the arc. Meeks also scored six points on the inside during the surge.
The Lady Marauders ended up holding their own against the bigger, stronger Lady Spartans after being outrebounded by a slim 22-20 overall margin, which also included a 9-8 deficit on the offensive glass.
Meigs ended up committing 10 of its 18 turnovers in the second half, while the guests had six giveaways in each half of action.
Afterwards, MHS coach Jarrod Kasun noted that the third quarter played a large roll in the final outcome. The third-year mentor also mentioned that the Lady Spartans used their strength to their advantage, and that his troops simply couldn’t match that level of aggressiveness.
“They made some shots and they had some players step up and hit some big threes there in the second half,” Kasun said. “Their physicality hurt us, but a lot of that comes down to how the game is officiated. We are more of a skilled, sleek, not-very-physical team, and Alexander is the one team that we have problems with because of their physicality.
“The third quarter was just a killer. They jumped out on us and hit a few shots, and we hit a little bit of a lull … and it just kind of steam-rolled from there. We ran out of gas late and it is what it is. Alexander played a great game and deserved to win.”
The Lady Marauders connected on 14-of-37 field goal attempts for 38 percent, including a 3-of-15 effort from behind the arc for 20 percent. The hosts were also 13-of-20 at the free throw line for 65 percent.
Kassidy Betzing led Meigs with 14 points, followed by Madison Fields and Mallory Hawley with seven markers apiece. Marissa Noble was next with five points, while Becca Pullins and Alyssa Smith completed the respective scoring with four points and one point.
Betzing, Hawley and Taylor Swartz led the hosts with four rebounds apiece, while Pullins also hauled in three caroms.
Alexander netted 18-of-45 field goal attempts for 40 percent, including a 7-of-15 effort from 3-point range for 47 percent. The Red and Black were also 7-of-14 at the charity stripe for 50 percent.
McKena Rice led AHS with a game-high 17 points, followed by Mace with 13 points and Meeks with 10 markers. Rachel Richardson was next with eight points, while Sydnie Bolin and Mallory Rankin completed the winning tally with four markers each.
Rice and Meeks led the Lady Spartans with six rebounds apiece. Richardson also hauled in four boards in the triumph.
Meigs returns to action Thursday when it travels to Bidwell to face River Valley in a TVC Ohio contest at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.