lROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — It might take a while to match this kind of Senior Night performance.
The Meigs boys basketball team had four players reach double figures and senior Weston Baer became the school’s all-time leading scorer Friday night during an impressive 77-72 victory over visiting Nelsonville-York in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division matchup at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium.
The Marauders (12-9, 8-3 TVC Ohio) honored their four upperclassmen — Baer, Bobby Musser, Cameron Burnem and Cory Cox — before the contest, but the real fireworks started shortly after the opening tip was thrown.
Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field over the course of 32 minutes, and both teams battled through a tie and seven lead changes in the opening six minutes of regulation.
The Maroon and Gold, however, ultimately took a permanent lead at 15-14 with 1:52 left in the first frame following a basket by Wyatt Hoover. The hosts went on to finish the period with a 6-2 spurt while securing a 21-16 lead through eight minutes of play.
Despite netting 7-of-12 trifecta attempts in the first half while also going 7-of-11 from the field in the second stanza, NYHS was never able to get closer than two points before halftime.
Clinging to a 28-26 edge with 4:48 remaining, the hosts went on an 11-2 surge over the next 2:15 while establishing their first double-digit lead at 39-28.
Meigs maintained a 3-possession lead from there and closed the half with a small 7-6 spurt that resulted in a 46-34 advantage at the break.
The high mark of the contest came with 4:49 left in the third period as Baer caught a pass in the left corner and let a 3-pointer fly. The shot found its mark and gave Meigs not only its largest lead of the game at 53-38, but also a new all-time leading scorer.
After a brief pause in the game to recognize the feat, the Orange and Brown countered with 16-4 charge while holding the hosts scoreless over the final 2:42 em route to a 57-54 contest entering the finale.
Meigs hit its first five shot attempts and went 7-of-9 from the field overall in the fourth quarter, which included an 13-4 run in the opening three-plus minutes that led to a 70-58 cushion.
NYHS was never closer than 76-72 following a Joe Tome trifecta with 15 seconds left in regulation. Coulter Cleland tacked on the front end of two free throw attempts with 13.5 ticks left, wrapping up the eventual 5-point outcome.
The Marauders have now won six straight TVC Ohio contests and 7-of-8 outcomes overall since beating Nelsonville-York the first time around by a 65-60 margin at NYHS back on Jan. 17.
Given the totality of events that took place Friday night, MHS coach Jeremy Hill was — for the most part — pleased with the way things worked out by night’s end.
“The defensive effort wasn’t great tonight, but the offensive effort was just fine. Nelsonville was hitting those threes, but we just kept finding answers,” Hill said. “Once we were able to get our emotions under control, I thought we did a very nice job of executing on the offensive end of the floor … rather it be a good look at the basket or an offensive putback.
“The kids just wanted this one tonight, especially for those seniors. We’ve won seven of our last eight and we are playing well right now, and those upperclassmen have a lot to do with it. I was proud that we could send them out with a win in their final home game.”
For Baer, the night ended up being a moment that will stay with him for quite some time … even after the next great Meigs player starts gunning for his mark.
“This is definitely an amazing accomplishment. This is something that I worked hard for for four years, but this wasn’t something that I came into high school expecting to do. I just worked hard every day and this is what it eventually led to,” Baer said. “It was a great night and I’m glad that I could do this in front of the home crowd, especially during a win on Senior Night. It’s something that I will always remember for a really long time.”
Baer needed nine points coming in to tie Amber Vining’s school mark of 1,400 career points. Baer previously surpassed the boys’ record set by Trevor Harrison during a 67-54 loss at Fort Frye back on Jan. 14.
The Marauders outrebounded the guests by a 32-23 overall margin, including a 13-5 edge on the offensive boards. The hosts also committed only seven of the 20 turnovers in the contest.
MHS made 30-of-57 field goal attempts for 53 percent, including a 5-of-15 effort from behind the arc for 33 percent. The Maroon and Gold also went 12-of-21 at the free throw line for 57 percent.
Cleland led Meigs with 19 points and Baer followed with 16 points, while Cox and Hoover added a dozen markers each. Bobby Musser was next with nine points and a team-best 13 rebounds, while Cleland also hauled in seven caroms.
Ethan Stewart chipped in four points to the winning cause, while Cameron Burnem completed things with two points.
The Buckeyes made 28-of-49 shot attempts for 57 percent, including a blistering 11-of-18 effort from behind the arc for 61 percent. NYHS was also 3-of-6 at the charity stripe for 50 percent.
Mikey Seel led Nelsonville-York with a game-high 22 points, followed by Ethan Gail with 19 points and Drew Carter with 11 markers. Austin Thrapp also contributed seven points in the setback.
Tome was next with six points and added a team-best six rebounds. Maleek Williams and Braydin McKee completed the tally with five and two points, respectively.
Meigs opens postseason play on Wednesday when it travels to Jackson High School for a Division III sectional semifinal against Portsmouth West at 6:15 p.m.
The Marauders still have a road makeup date with Vinton County that will be rescheduled based on opening-round postseason outcomes by both programs.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.