ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — The start ultimately made the difference in the end.
Visiting Athens built a 17-13 first quarter lead and gradually held on the rest of the way Thursday night during a 62-59 victory over the Meigs girls basketball team in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division matchup at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium.
The Lady Marauders (6-10, 4-7 TVC Ohio) — who held leads in each of the first two quarters — found themselves in an early 4-point hole, but the hosts countered with a small 15-14 run that cut the deficit down to 31-28 entering the break.
The Lady Bulldogs (4-16, 3-9) simply traded punches with MHS the rest of the way as both teams scored 16 points in the third period for a 47-44 edge, then each squad churned out 15 points down the stretch to wrap up the 1-possession outcome.
Athens also salvaged a season split with the Maroon and Gold after dropping a 46-41 decision at McAfee Gymnasium on Jan. 4.
The Lady Marauders outrebounded AHS by a 35-32 overall margin, including a 20-12 edge on the offensive glass. Athens also committed 22 of the 41 turnovers in the contest.
Meigs made 18-of-54 field goal attempts for 33 percent, including a 6-of-23 effort from behind the arc for 39 percent. The hosts were also 17-of-27 at the free throw line for 63 percent.
Delana Wright paced MHS with 14 points, followed by Mallory Hawley with 13 points and Maggie Musser with a dozen markers. Rylee Lisle and Jerrica Smith were next with nine and eight points, respectively.
Andrea Mahr and Charlotte Hysell respectively completed the scoring with two points and one point. Hawley also pulled down a team-best nine rebounds and added four assists as well.
Athens netted 24-of-50 shot attempts for 48 percent, including a 4-of-15 performance from 3-point range for 29 percent. The guests also sank 10-of-14 charity tosses for 71 percent.
Bailey Cordray-Davis led Athens with a game-high 21 points, followed by Haylie Mills with 18 points and Kesi Federspiel with 12 markers. Emily Zuber added five points, while Harper Bennett, Annika Benton and Kianna Benton completed the winning tally with two points each.
Meigs travels to Southern on Saturday and returns to the hardwood on Monday night when it hosts Nelsonville-York in a TVC Ohio contest at 7 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.