ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — Simply put, the Blue Devils finished what the Marauders started on opening night.
The Gallia Academy boys basketball team overcame a pair of 15-point first quarter deficits and limited host Meigs to under 23 percent shooting from the field over the final three quarters Friday night en route to a 55-42 non-conference victory at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium in Meigs County.
The Blue Devils (1-0) showed a great deal of patience and poise as the night progressed, but the guests struggled out of the gates after missing their first seven shot attempts before finally getting into the scoring column more than three minutes into regulation.
The Marauders (0-1) — who built a quick 8-0 lead — netted 9-of-15 shot attempts in the first frame and led 22-7 with 52 seconds remaining before ultimately clinging to a comfortable 22-9 cushion entering the second frame.
Things, however, took a drastic turn for both teams from that point on. GAHS didn’t allow another single point over a span of 11:32, while the Maroon and Gold mustered two fewer points over the final three periods than they produced in the opening eight minutes of play.
The Blue and White closed the halftime deficit down to 22-21, then took a permanent lead on a Cooper Davis trifecta just 33 seconds into the second half. Gallia Academy extended that lead out to 39-31 entering the fourth, then led by at least two possessions the rest of the way to wrap up the season opening outcome for both programs.
The Maroon and Gold shot 60 percent from the field in the first quarter, which included a 4-of-6 effort from behind the arc that resulted in early leads of 8-0 and again at 16-1 with 3:34 left.
MHS built its lead back out to 22-7, but Isaac Clary converted a short inside jumper with 36 seconds left for a 22-9 contest entering the second canto.
The Marauders went 0-for-7 from the floor and committed nine turnovers in the second stanza, while Carson Call provided seven points as part of a 12-0 surge that allowed the Blue Devils to close to within a point headed into the break.
Wyatt Hoover ended the hosts’ scoring drought with a basket at the 5:19 mark of the third, pulling Meigs back to within 26-24.
Back-to-back offensive putbacks by Clary allowed GAHS to complete a small 10-4 run over the next 3:43, giving the guests a 36-28 edge with 95 seconds remaining. Both teams traded three points the rest of the way for a 39-31 contest headed into the finale.
Ethan Stewart opened the fourth with a basket at the 6:40 mark, allowing the Marauders to close to within 39-33. The Maroon and Gold, however, were never closer from there.
Clary gave GAHS its first double-digit lead of the night on a basket with 1:05 remaining, then Call closed out a 6-0 Blue Devil run over the final 2:20 with a bucket with just 15 seconds left. The 13-point triumph also served as the largest lead of the game for Gallia Academy.
The Blue Devils outrebounded the hosts by a 36-27 overall margin, including a 13-5 edge on the offensive glass. Meigs also committed 14 of the 24 turnovers in the contest.
Gallia Academy made 20-of-53 shot attempts for 38 percent, including a 5-of-15 effort from behind the arc for 33 percent. The guests were also 10-of-14 at the free throw line for 71 percent.
Clary led GAHS with a double-double effort of 20 points and 10 rebounds, both of which were game-highs. Call was next with 13 points, while Davis added eight points to go along with five rebounds.
Kenyon Franklin and Trent Johnson were next with four points apiece. Noah Vanco and Wesley Saunders completed the scoring with three markers each. Vanco also hauled in six caroms in the triumph.
Meigs netted 16-of-44 field goal attempts for 36 percent, including a 4-of-13 effort from 3-point territory for 31 percent. The hosts were also 6-of-10 at the charity stripe for 60 percent.
Stewart paced the Marauders with 15 points and four caroms, followed by Coulter Cleland with nine points and a team-best nine rebounds. Wyatt Hoover was next with eight points and five boards.
Andrew Dodson contributed four points, with Braylon Harrison and Morgan Roberts each adding three markers to wrap up the scoring.
Meigs returns to action Tuesday when it travels to Belpre for a non-conference tilt at 7 p.m.
The Blue Devils head to Athens on Friday for a non-conference matchup at 7 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.