MARIETTA, Ohio — As it turns out, the Marauders got exactly what they wanted for Christmas.
The Meigs boys basketball team snapped its three-game losing skid on Friday at the River City Classic hosted by Marietta College, as the Maroon and Gold never trailed en route to a 70-60 non-conference victory over Morgan.
Meigs (4-5) broke the scoreless tie 19 seconds into play and established the lead for good, at 5-2, with 6:38 left in the first quarter.
The Marauders found the bottom of the next on eight field goal attempts — three of which came from beyond the arc — in the opening period, and led 19-7 headed into the second.
Morgan cut its deficit back to single digits, at 26-18, with an 11-to-7 run over the first 5:45 of the second quarter, but Meigs claimed nine of the last 11 points in the half and went into the break with a 35-20 advantage.
Out of halftime, the Raiders went on a 10-to-2 spurt, trimming Meigs’ lead to seven points with 5:50 left in the third. Morgan never made it closer than seven points in the second half, with the Marauders stretching their lead back to double digits, at 54-43, by the conclusion of the third.
Meigs scored nine of the first 10 points in the finale, pushing the margin to a game-high 20 points with 5:13 to play. The Raiders hit six field goals, including four triples, over the remainder of the game, but never made it closer than eight and ultimately fell by a 70-60 count.
Following the contest, Marauders’ head coach Jeremy Hill was glad to see his team’s work pay off with a triumph.
“After having a little three-game slide there, it’s good to get back in the win column,” Hill said. “The kids have been working hard to get there, and their effort came to fruition tonight.”
In the win, Meigs shot 27-of-60 (45 percent) from the field, including 5-of-16 (31.3 percent) from three-point range. Meanwhile, the Raiders shot 22-of-55 (40 percent) from the field, including 8-of-25 (32 percent) from beyond the arc. At the free throw line, the Marauders were 11-of-18 (61.1 percent) and Morgan was 4-of-6 (66.7 percent).
The Maroon and Gold won the rebounding battle by a narrow 27-to-24 clip, with a 9-to-7 edge in offensive boards. Meigs’ nine turnovers were half as many as Morgan’s tally. The Marauders combined for 19 assists, 10 steals and a pair of blocked shots, while the Raiders came up with 15 assists, six steals and six rejections.
Hill was pleased to see the turnover numbers down, and noted that his team created offense with its defense.
“I think we took care of the basketball better than we’ve done in most outings this year,” said Hill. “Our defensive intensity was a lot more, and it showed because we got 60 shots tonight. You don’t get 60 shots unless you have some defense to get you the basketball. Really proud of the kids, that’s a feather in our cap so to speak.”
Weston Baer led the Maroon and Gold with 22 points, featuring six from long range. Zach Bartrum contributed 16 points and a game-high eight assists to the winning cause, while Coulter Cleland came up with 10 points and six rebounds.
Next for the Marauders was Nick Lilly with eight points, followed by Cooper Darst with six points and seven rebounds. Wyatt Hoover ended with four points, while Cole Betzing and Ty Bartrum scored two apiece.
The Marauder defense was led by Baer with three steals, and Darst with two steals and two blocks.
For the Raiders, Carver Myers led all-scorers with 23 points, while picking up a team-best five assists. Tyler Janes — who led the Morgan defense with two steals and three blocks — posted 16 points and six rebounds in the setback.
Next for Morgan was Jason Wells with seven points, followed by Gabe Altier with six, Josh Wells with five, and Vaden Norris with three.
After playing in Day 2 of the River City Classic on Saturday, the Maroon and Gold will be back on their home court to kick off 2019 against Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division foe Athens.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.