POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The polar vortex didn’t bother the Marauders, their shooting touch was hot enough to keep warm in any weather.
The Meigs boys basketball team shot over 64 percent from the field on Tuesday night in ‘The Dungeon’, leading the Marauders to an 82-44 victory over non-conference host Point Pleasant.
The Marauders (9-5) scored the first five points of the game and never trailed in the contest. The Big Blacks (2-12) were back to within two points, at 12-10, by the 2:02 mark of the first quarter, but Meigs claimed the next four points. PPHS senior Braxton Yates made a buzzer-beater from mid-court to trim the MHS edge to 16-13 at the end of the first.
The Maroon and Gold scored the first seven points of the second stanza and led 23-13 with 6:44 left in the half. Point Pleasant made it back to within five points, at 27-22, with three minutes to go in the half, but Meigs scored eight of the next 11 and took a 35-25 advantage into the break.
PPHS cut its deficit to nine, at 37-28, within the opening minute of the second half, but the Maroon and Gold claimed the next 10 markers and led by 19 with three minutes to go in the third. The Big Blacks ended the drought with four straight points, but the Marauders ended the period with a 7-to-1 run and a 54-33 lead.
The Marauders sealed the 82-44 win by hitting 11-of-13 field goals in the final quarter.
Following the victory, MHS head coach Jeremy Hill talked about the change in his team after it didn’t play to its potential in the first half.
“We didn’t really execute as well as we would have liked in the first half, so at halftime, we challenged them to step up their game,” Hill said. “We told them they weren’t rebounding the way they’re capable of rebounding, and in the second half they did that.
“We had a lot of ball movement tonight, which created a lot of easy buckets, and we made those easy buckets. Something we didn’t do against Vinton County was make layups around the bucket, but tonight, we did that and we generated a lot of points.”
For Point Pleasant, head coach Josh Williams noted his team’s effort, but acknowledged that execution needs to improve on the defensive end.
“I thought they played hard, they did everything we asked,” Williams said. “We missed some assignments a little bit. We played hard, but we just didn’t execute on where we need to be. They hit us on some diagonal passes when we didn’t cover certain areas or guys.”
MHS earned a 34-to-25 rebounding advantage, despite the hosts winning the offensive glass by a 13-to-9 clip. Meigs also won the turnover battle, committing 15 and forcing 22. The Marauders combined for 23 assists, 12 steals and one blocked shot, while PPHS came up with eight assists and six steals.
Coach Hill believes that the Marauders keep getting better with each outing, particularly on the defensive end.
“We are improving day-by-day, and that’s what you want your ball club to do,” said Hill. “We keep improving and you can see it, you can see the results of our labor and all the work we put in the gym. We’ve become a much better defensive ball club, and we’re rebounding the ball much better. Our shooting needs a little bit of work, but all in all, I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
For the game, Meigs made 31-of-48 (64.6 percent) field goal attempts, including 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) three-point tries. Meanwhile, the Big Blacks were 13-of-48 (27.1 percent) from the field, including 8-of-24 (33.3 percent) from beyond the arc. At the foul line, MHS was 16-of-25 (64 percent) and PPHS was 10-of-17 (34.6 percent).
Coach Williams talked about the Marauders offensive attack, led by junior Weston Baer.
“Meigs did a great job of attacking us in the paint relentlessly,” Williams said. “They got us on our heels, got us in foul trouble, and unfortunately we had to sit some guys. They were very disciplined and methodical in their attack, they have multiple scorers and it was hard to guard everybody.
“Baer requires so much attention, but he’s good at finding other guys and being unselfish with the ball. He’s good at picking his spots, when to turn it on and score, and when to get his teammates involved. He’s not alone by any means.”
Baer led the Marauder offense with 22 points and six assists, while also marking a team-best four steals. Coulter Cleland had 18 points and five assists for the guests, scoring half of his points from beyond the arc.
Zach Bartrum, Cooper Darst and Wyatt Hoover came up with 10 points apiece for the Maroon and Gold, while Cole Betzing added four points. Nick Lilly and Morgan Roberts scored three apiece, with Lilly grabbing a team-best eight rebounds, while Bobby Musser rounded out the winning tally with two markers.
Hunter Bush led the hosts with 18 points, half of which came from the free throw line. Yates recorded 10 points and team-highs of six rebounds and four assists for the Big Blacks, while Kyelar Morrow scored nine points on a team-best three trifectas.
PPHS freshman Trey Peck scored three points in the setback, while Nick Smith and Evan Cobb added two each. Yates and Bush led the Big Black defense with two steals apiece.
Next, Meigs visits Chillicothe on Saturday, when Point Pleasant hosts Southern.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.