ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — The rust showed, but the Marauders worked through the kinks and eventually found their high gear.
After 24 days in between games due to COVID bouts and inclement weather, the Meigs boys basketball team used a 25-19 run down the stretch to break a 43-all tie and claim a 68-62 victory over visiting River Valley on Friday night in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division matchup at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium.
The Marauders (7-4, 4-1 TVC Ohio) found themselves in a dog fight from the start, as the hosts never led in the second or third frames and also trailed by as many as nine points (43-34) with 3:36 left in the third.
MHS, however, made a 7-0 run to close out the quarter as a Coulter Cleland and-1 play knotted things up at 43-all with 33 seconds remaining.
The Raiders (2-11, 1-4) secured their final lead of the game with 4:59 left as a Jance Lambert trifecta gave the hosts a 52-51 edge, but Cleland converted two free throws 55 seconds later — and the Maroon and Gold ultimately never trailed again.
Meigs ended up netting 15-of-21 free throw attempts down the stretch and led by as much as 66-59 with 12 seconds left in regulation. RVHS closed the game with a small 3-2 run to wrap up the 6-point outcome.
The Marauders also claimed a season sweep of River Valley after earning a 72-40 decision in Bidwell back on Dec. 10, 2021.
There were eight ties and a dozen lead changes in the contest, with four and seven of those coming respectively in the opening canto. The Raiders were the only team to hold a lead bigger than one possession after establishing a 19-15 cushion through eight minutes of play.
RVHS — which made 6-of-9 trifecta attempts in the first half — built its lead out to as much as 27-19 after a Lambert basket with 4:36 to go until halftime.
Cleland capped a 9-3 run with a basket that trimmed the deficit down to 30-28, but Lambert ended the half with a 3-pointer and allowed the guests to take a 33-28 lead into the intermission.
The Silver and Black — who went 18-of-33 from the field through the first three quarters — got a Kade Alderman basket at the 3:36 mark while capping a 10-6 run that provided RVHS with its largest lead of the night at 43-35.
Free throws, turnovers and rebounds played large roles in the final outcome, and the Marauders were dominant in all of those areas.
The hosts outrebounded the Raiders by a 36-22 overall margin, including a 19-3 edge on the offensive glass. MHS also committed only nine of the 25 turnovers in the contest.
Meigs made 20-of-59 field goal attempts for 34 percent, including a 6-of-17 effort from behind the arc for 35 percent. The Marauders also went 22-of-33 at the foul line for 67 percent.
Coulter Cleland led MHS with a double-double effort of 24 points and 12 rebounds, followed by Brayden Stanley with 21 points and Braylon Harrison with nine markers.
Ethan Stewart was next with eight points, while Brody Butcher and Griffin Cleland respectively chipped in three and two points. Morgan Roberts completed the winning tally with one point.
The Raiders netted 23-of-47 shot attempts for 49 percent, including a 10-of-21 performance from 3-point territory for 48 percent. The guests also sank 6-of-7 charity tosses for 86 percent.
Lambert paced the guests with a game-high 26 points, followed by Mason Rhodes with 17 points and Alderman added 14 markers to go along with a team-high seven caroms. Ethan Schultz completed the scoring with five points.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.