KINNIKINNICK, Ohio — When the Marauders lost some of the pep in their step, the Pioneers just kept trekking along.
Host Zane Trace made an 18-6 fourth quarter push and ultimately ended the season for the Meigs boys basketball team on Friday night with a 57-40 decision in a Division III Southeast 1 sectional championship in Ross County.
The 13th seeded Marauders (11-10) kept things very competitive for the better part of three quarters, despite the guests not leading after the opening four minutes of regulation.
In fact, a 6-2 MHS lead two minutes into regulation disappeared by the midway point of the opening stanza — but the fourth seeded Pioneers (16-5) also never led by more than four points throughout the entire first half.
ZTHS — champions of the Scioto Valley Conference — eventually secured a permanent lead on an offensive putback by Ben Nichols with 1:42 left until halftime, giving the Red and Blue a slim 19-17 cushion in the process.
Meigs — which trailed 14-12 after the first period — closed the canto with a Coulter Cleland free throw and trailed 19-18 entering the intermission.
Zane Trace reeled off five straight points in the first 35 seconds of the third period, but the Maroon and Gold countered with a 13-8 run as an Ethan Stewart trifecta cut the deficit down to 32-31 with 2:05 left.
The hosts, however, answered with seven of the next eight points as an Xzander Ream basket with eight seconds left gave ZTHS its largest lead at the that point at 39-32.
Cleland was fouled on a 3-point attempt just before the third quarter buzzer sounded, and the senior netted two of three attempts to whittle the lead down to 39-34 entering the finale.
The Marauders were never closer as Zane Trace made a 7-2 run over the opening 2:11 of the fourth for a double-digit advantage of 46-36. MHS trailed by at least double digits the rest of the way and the final 17-point outcome was the largest lead of the night.
ZTHS outrebounded Meigs by a 36-22 overall margin, including a 14-8 edge on the offensive glass. The guests also committed eight of the 15 turnovers in the contest.
The Marauders went 15-of-46 from the field for 33 percent, including a 6-of-27 effort from behind the arc for 22 percent. MHS was also 6-of-14 at the free throw line for 43 percent.
Cleland led the Maroon and Gold with 13 points and seven rebounds, followed by Brayden Stanley with 11 points and Stewart nine markers.
Chase Garcia and Braylon Harrison were next with three points apiece, while Caleb Burnem completed the scoring with one point. Harrison also grabbed five caroms in the setback.
The Pioneers netted 21-of-47 shot attempts for 45 percent, including a 1-of-9 effort from 3-point territory for 11 percent. The hosts also sank 14-of-20 charity tosses for 70 percent.
Kyle Stonerock paced ZTHS with a double-double effort of 15 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Nalin Robinson with 14 points and eight boards. Ream and Donavin Baker were next with 11 and eight markers, respectively.
Nichols and Carter Hill chipped in five and three points, while Austen Ison completed the winning tally with one point.
It was the final basketball game for seniors Coulter Cleland, Morgan Roberts, Chase Garcia and Caleb Burnem in the Maroon and Gold.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.