THE PLAINS, Ohio — There’s a saying that what happens in the regular season doesn’t matter come tournament time.
There is also an adage that says the hardest thing to do is beat a team three times in the same season.
Here’s a perfect example of both.
After being swept in a pair of non-conference matchups this winter, the Meigs girls basketball team exacted a little revenge Wednesday night with a convincing 48-36 victory over River Valley in a Division III sectional semifinal matchup at McAfee Gymnasium on the campus of Athens High School.
The ninth-seeded Lady Marauders (6-16) shot 53 percent from the field and limited the eighth-seeded Lady Raiders (8-11) to 18 points in each half, as the guests jumped out to a 16-12 first quarter lead and never looked back.
RVHS hit its first two shot attempts for an 4-0 lead a minute and a half into the game, but the guests countered with a 7-2 run over the next two minutes to take a permanent lead at 7-6 with 4:39 left in the opening canto. MHS — which hit six of its first nine field goal attempts — closed the period with a 9-6 run to secure a small four-point edge after eight minutes of play.
The Lady Raiders were never closer the rest of the way, as Meigs held the hosts scoreless for almost four minutes while making a 5-0 run — giving the Maroon and Gold a 21-12 edge with 4:53 left in the half.
Leia Moore ended River Valley’s drought with a basket at the 4:12 mark for a seven-point contest, but MHS retaliated with a small 7-4 spurt to enter the break with a 28-18 advantage.
Meigs committed 10 turnovers and made 11-of-19 shot attempts in the first half, while the hosts netted 9-of-26 floor attempts and committed eight giveaways. RVHS did own a 12-10 advantage on the boards at half, including a 6-0 edge on the offensive glass.
River Valley was never closer than six points in the second half, which came at the 4:53 mark of the third quarter after Chelsea Copley netted a basket for a 30-24 contest. The Lady Marauders followed with a 9-2 surge to secure a 39-24 lead headed into the finale.
Meigs led by as many as 17 points three different times, the last of which came on a Kelsey Hudson bucket at the 4:03 mark of the fourth — making it a 45-28 contest. RVHS rallied with eight straight points to pull back to within single digits (45-36) with 53 seconds remaining, but ultimately never came closer.
The Lady Marauders scored the final three points of regulation to wrap up the 12-point victory, setting up a date in the sectional final at 1 p.m. Saturday against top-seeded Nelsonville-York. The Lady Buckeyes swept Meigs in TVC Ohio play this year by counts of 54-34 and 66-43.
River Valley — which missed its first 11 trifecta tries — posted a 50-42 home win over Meigs back on Dec. 12 and claimed the season sweep at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium with a 47-44 decision on Jan. 11. It is also the first postseason win for Meigs since the Lady Marauders beat Vinton County 64-52 in a D-2 sectional semifinal on Feb. 16, 2009.
River Valley outrebounded the guests by a 35-21 overall margin, which included a 23-3 edge on the offensive glass. Meigs committed 18 turnovers in the triumph, compared to 16 by the hosts.
The Lady Marauders connected on 19-of-36 shot attempts overall, including a 4-of-6 effort from three-point range. MHS was also 6-of-13 at the free throw line for 46 percent.
Kelsey Hudson led Meigs with a game-high 24 points, 20 of which came in the opening half of play. Brook Andrus was next with 13 points, while Danielle Morris and Hannah Cremeans respectively chipped in six and three markers. Bre Colburn rounded out the winning tally with two points.
The Lady Raiders made 13-of-54 field goal attempts for 24 percent, including a 2-of-18 effort from behind the arc for 11 percent. RVHS was also 8-of-16 at the charity stripe for 50 percent.
Chelsea Copley led the hosts with 12 points, followed by Shelby Brown with 11 points and Leia Moore with six markers. Rachael Smith and Courtney Smith rounded out the respective scoring with five and two points.