ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — It was well within striking distance through three quarters of play.
Then came the final period.
Visiting Jackson netted 8-of-10 field goal attempts as part of a 23-10 fourth quarter charge and eventually ran away with a 60-42 victory over the Meigs boys basketball team on Wednesday night during a non-conference matchup at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium.
Both the Ironmen (11-3) and host Marauders (4-8) battled through two ties and seven lead changes in the opening nine minutes of regulation, but the Red and White ultimately took a permanent lead on a Braxton Hammond basket a minute into the second frame.
The Maroon and Gold twice closed to within a point in the final three minutes of the first half, but JHS pulled away from a 22-21 contest with a small 4-2 spurt over the final 81 seconds that resulted in a narrow 26-23 edge headed into the break.
Both teams shot a shade over 37 percent from the field in the first half, and neither squad fared much better in the third frame as Jackson made a small 11-9 run and extended its lead out to 37-32 entering the finale.
Meigs never trailed by more than seven points through three quarters of play, but the hosts ultimately ran into a double-edged sword down the stretch.
The Ironmen went a perfect 8-for-8 from inside the 3-point line and missed both trifecta tries during that pivotal fourth quarter push, and Meigs netted only 1-of-10 shot attempts while watching a 5-point deficit gradually turn into a double-digit hole over the final 4:08 of regulation.
The 18-point margin of victory was also the largest lead of the night for JHS. Meigs was just 4-of-25 from the field in the second half.
The Marauders never trailed by more than five points in the first half and reeled off seven straight points early on while turning a 9-4 deficit into an 11-9 edge following a Wyatt Hoover basket with 59 seconds left in the first stanza.
Hammond and Landon Ervin followed with consecutive buckets that allowed the Red and White to take a 13-11 lead through eight minutes of play.
Braylon Harrison provided MHS with its final lead of the night following a 3-pointer 17 seconds into the second stanza, making it a 14-13 contest. Hammond answered with a basket at the 7-minute mark and Jackson never trailed again.
JHS outrebounded the hosts by a 36-33 overall margin, but Meigs did claim a 12-11 edge on the offensive glass. The guests also committed only eight of the 22 turnovers in the outing.
The Marauders netted 13-of-49 shot attempts for 27 percent, including a 2-of-17 effort from behind the arc for 12 percent. MHS also converted 14-of-18 free throw attempts for 78 percent.
Coulter Cleland led the hosts with 17 points and nine rebounds, followed by Hoover with nine points and Andrew Dodson with six markers. Hoover and Dodson also hauled down eight and five caroms, respectively.
Caleb Burnem was next with four points, while Harrison and Zach Searles respectively added three and two points. Morgan Roberts completed the scoring with one marker.
Jackson sank 22-of-53 shot attempts for 42 percent, including misses on all 10 of their attempts from 3-point territory. The guests were also 14-of-19 at the charity stripe for 74 percent.
Hammond paced JHS with a double-double effort of 18 points and 12 rebounds, both of which were game-highs. Boston Kuhn and Evan Spires were next with a dozen points apiece, while Erwin and Nate Woodard chipped in four points each.
Drew Bragg and Tristan Prater provided three points apiece to the winning cause. Logan Miller and Holden Blankenship completed the winning mark with two points each.
Meigs returns to action Friday when it hosts Vinton County in a TVC Ohio contest at 7 p.m. The Marauders also host Wellston in a league matchup Saturday at approximately 1 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.