BELPRE, Ohio — A late rally, only to face heart break.
The Meigs boys basketball team battled back from an eight-point fourth quarter deficit and led by two points late Tuesday’s non-conference bout in Washington County. However, a three-pointer by Connor Baker with eight seconds left gave host Belpre a 62-61 victory in its season opener.
The Marauders (0-2) were up 11-10 a quarter into play, with five different players marking in the scoring column for MHS.
The Golden Eagles (1-0) responded with their best offensive stanza of the night in the second, outscoring Meigs 22-to-16 for a 32-27 halftime advantage.
The hosts added a point to their advantage with a 19-to-18 third period, and went into the finale up 51-45.
Belpre hit the first bucket of the finale, but the Marauders answered with a 15-to-6 run, taking the lead at 60-59 on a pair of Coulter Cleland free throws with 57.3 seconds left.
Cleland added another free throw with 39.2 seconds to go, but Baker’s three-pointer gave the Orange and Black the 62-61 victory.
Cleland led all-scorers with 29 points, combining eight two-pointers, the team’s lone trifecta, and a 10-for-14 day at the charity stripe. Wyatt Hoover was next with 10 points, followed by Ethan Stewart with nine, and Morgan Roberts with seven. Andrew Dodson scored three points for the guests, Caleb Burnem added two points, while Braylon Harrison came up with one.
Evan Wells paced Belpre with 13 points, including nine from beyond the arc. Baker, Dylan Cox, Cody Daugherty, Jordan Harrington and Ashton Yeater each had seven points for the victors, Tucker Liston added two points, while Brady Shriver scored one.
Meigs made 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) free throws in the game, while Belpre sank 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) foul shots.
The Marauders will be back on their home court on Saturday against non-league guest Fort Frye.
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Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.