ATHENS, Ohio — A slow start leads to the Marauders exit from the postseason.
The Meigs boys basketball team missed its first nine shots of the game en route to a 49-32 loss to Oak Hill in the district semi-final at the Convocation Center on the campus of Ohio University.
The Oaks (20-4) began the game with a 5-0 run, before Meigs (10-12) got on the board with a Cody Stewart free throw at the 4:25 mark. Oak Hill scored back-to-back buckets before Dustin Ulbrich marked the first field goal for the Marauders at the 1:33 mark. OHHS added two points to close the opening stanza with an 11-3 advantage. Meigs turned the ball over eight times in the first, while shooting just 1-of-10 (10 percent) from the field.
The Oaks began the second period with a 4:00 7-to-4 run that pushed the lead to double-digits. Maroon and Gold answered back with a 6-to-3 spurt to end the first half down 21-13. The Marauders led 16-to-11 on the glass in the first half, but they had committed 11 turnovers.
MHS cut the Oak Hill lead to six points three separate times in the third, but the Oaks finished the third with an 8-to-3 run. OHHS led 33-22 with eight minutes remaining in the game.
The Marauders battled back with a 5:00 8-to-4 run to start the period but Oak Hill sealed the game with a 12-to-2. The Oaks won 49-32 and are headed to their first Division III district final since 2007.
“We did what we’ve done all year long, we played good hard-nose defense and got after them,” first year Marauders coach David Kight said. “We kept getting the deficit to 5-or-6 we just couldn’t get that next shot to get a little bit closer. Sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it doesn’t and tonight it didn’t bounce our way.”
The Marauders were led by Treay McKinney with 11 points and Kaileb Sheets with eight. Dillon Boyer and Dustin Ulbrich each added four points, while Cody Stewart marked three and Ty Phelps had two.
Ulbrich led the Marauders on the glass with six rebounds, followed by Phelps with four. Sheets led the Marauders in the assist column with four, followed by McKinney with three. Sheets also led the MHS defense with five steals.
The Marauders shot 12-of-40 (30 percent) from the field including 2-of-10 (20 percent) from beyond the arc. McKinney and Sheets each marked one three-pointer for Meigs. MHS was 6-of-12 from the free throw line for 50 percent. As a team the Marauders had 21 rebounds, nine assists, nine steals and one block. Meigs committed 19 turnovers and 12 fouls in the game. Phelps was the lone player to foul out of the game.
“Our defense kept us in the game and it has all year, it’s been our bread and butter” Oak Hill coach Norm Persin said. “We started off okay offensively and then we just didn’t let of offense come to us. I think we took some quick shots, I think we took some bad shots but then in the second half we were a lot stronger offensively.”
Oak Hill was led by Nathan Kidd with 13 points, and Drew Haislop with 12. Luke Hammond marked nine points, Kyle Love had eight, while Garrin Stiltner added six. Jordan Fisher rounded out the Oaks total with one point.
Hammond led OHHS with six rebounds, followed by Love with five, while Haislop finished with a team-high four assists. Stiltner led the Oaks defense with five steals in the triumph.
Oak Hill shot 18-of-36 (50 percent) from the field, including 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) from beyond the arc. Haislop, Kidd and Hammond each hit a three-pointer for OHHS. All of Oak Hill’s free throw attempts came in the fourth period and the Oaks were 10-of-12 for 83.3 percent.
“We’ve been pretty quality about that all year, hitting free throws and things of that nature,” Persin said. “It’s nothing new to us, we’re a good free throw shooting team and it paid off again tonight.”
As a team Oak Hill marked 24 rebounds, 13 assists, 12 steals and two blocks. OHHS committed 18 turnovers and 11 fouls in the victory.
Oak Hill will face top seeded Eastern Brown in the district final Friday at 5 p.m. at the Convo.
The Marauders earn finish with double-digit wins for the second time in three seasons, after having just two wins last season. This marks the final game for MHS seniors Treay McKinney, Dillon Boyer, Cody Stewart, Jared Williamson, Dustin Ulbrich, Alex Morris, and Matt Casci.
“They put the work in to prove they could do it and to prove to everybody what was in that class,” said Kight of the MHS seniors. “I have never been more proud of a group in my life than I am with this group of seniors and upper classmen. They didn’t listen to anybody’s negativity, they stayed positive and this is what happens when you have hard work.”
Meigs has appeared in the district tournament five times — 1976, 1986, 1998, 2011 and 2013. Dillon Boyer and Dustin Ulbrich are the only two players on this MHS squad that were on the 2011 sectional championship team, becoming first Marauders to appear in two different district tournaments.