ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — So much for gracious guests.
Visiting Wellston spoiled Senior Night festivities for the Meigs girls basketball team Thursday evening following a 56-43 decision in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division matchup at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium.
The Lady Marauders (4-16, 0-9 TVC Ohio) honored seniors Delilah Fish, Tess Phelps, Mercadies George and Kirsten McGuire for their years of dedication to the program before the game, then the hosts rode that momentum by claiming leads in each of the opening three periods of play.
The Lady Rockets, however, overcame a two-point deficit early in the third quarter with a 14-1 surge — which ultimately turned a 27-25 deficit into a comfortable 39-28 cushion midway through the canto.
Meigs — which went just 2-of-10 from the field in the third period — never came closer than nine points the rest of the way, as Wellston (11-9, 4-6) closed the final 12 minutes of regulation with a small 17-15 spurt to wrap up the 13-point triumph.
The Lady Rockets, with the win, also claimed a season sweep in the head-to-head series after posting a 57-36 decision at WHS back on January 10.
There were nine lead changes and three ties in the entire contest, with seven of those lead changes and all three ties coming in the opening half of play. MHS also held a five-point lead in the first half, the biggest for either squad before the break.
Meigs, however, just couldn’t get anything to fall after taking its final lead of the night just 50 seconds into the second half, and Wellston ultimately took advantage of the hosts’ misfortunes.
It was a bittersweet night for MHS coach Amber Ridenour, who was hoping that her quartet of seniors would get a proper send-off at home. But, as she noted afterwards, it’s tough to win games when shots aren’t falling.
“The girls played hard and played well in the first half, but that slow start in the second half really did us in,” Ridenour said. “I really wanted this game for these seniors, because they are my first group of upperclassmen and they have been such a joy to coach. In my book, they are winners — and that was how I wanted them to go out at home.
“The final outcome doesn’t take away from what they mean to both me and to Meigs High School. They will always be champions.”
Wellston jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 5-2 before securing its biggest lead of the first half at 8-4 with 4:40 left in the opening stanza, but the Lady Marauders countered with six straight points to claim a small 10-8 edge after eight minutes of play.
Meigs opened the second period with a 6-3 run to take its biggest lead of the night at 16-11 with 6:15 left in the half, but Wellston countered with an 8-2 surge over the next three-plus minutes for a 19-18 edge at the 2:33 mark.
Brittany Krautter hit a trifecta with 1:29 left to reclaim the lead for MHS at 21-19, but Wellston answered with a basket at the 1:11 mark to knot things back up at 21-all. Krautter hit another three-pointer 20 seconds later for Meigs’ final lead of the first half, but Shanea Long answered with a triple with 37 seconds left to again tie the game at 24.
Jordan Davis hit one of two free throw attempts with 8.7 seconds left in the first half, which allowed the guests to secure a 25-24 lead headed into the intermission.
The Lady Marauders had six turnovers and were 9-of-33 from the field in the first half, which included a 4-of-8 effort from three-point range. Wellston, conversely, had eight turnovers and also went 8-of-22 from the floor, including a 4-of-9 effort from behind the arc.
Kelsey Hudson gave MHS its final lead of the night at the 7:10 mark of the third quarter after drilling a trifecta for a 27-25 edge.
Chelsea McManaway gave Wellston a permanent lead with 6:41 remaining in the third period after converting an old-fashioned three-point play, giving the guests a 28-27 cushion. McManaway’s basket and free throw also sparked a 14-1 surge, allowing the guests to claim a 39-28 lead with 3:59 remaining in the quarter.
Meigs pulled to within 39-30 after Hudson made a basket at the 3:25 mark, but the Lady Rockets closed the stanza with a 6-1 run — allowing the guests to take a 45-31 lead into the finale.
Wellston took its biggest lead of the night at 54-33 after Sami Ousley made a field goal with 3:06 left in regulation, and Meigs never came closer than the final 13-point outcome. Trailing 56-36, the hosts tallied the final seven points in the contest.
Meigs connected on 16-of-60 field goal attempts for 27 percent, including a 5-of-12 effort from three-point range for 42 percent. MHS also committed nine turnovers and went 6-of-13 at the charity stripe for 46 percent.
Brittany Krautter led Meigs with 12 points, followed by Mercadies George with 11 points and Kelsey Hudson with eight markers. Delilah Fish added five points to the losing effort, while Kirsten McGuire had three markers. Tess Phelps and Morgan Russell rounded out the scoring with two points apiece.
The Lady Marauders had team totals of 27 rebounds (12 offensive), four assists and three steals in the setback. George hauled in a team-high eight rebounds and two steals. Fish, Krautter, Hudson and Sadie Fox also dished an assist each.
Wellston sank 19-of-51 shot attempts overall for 37 percent, including a 7-of-16 effort from three-point range for 44 percent. The guests committed 11 turnovers and also made 11-of-16 charity tosses for 69 percent.
Chelsea McManaway paced WHS with a game-high 19 points, followed by Jordan Davis and Shanea Long with 12 markers apiece. Sami Ousley also reached double figures for the victors with 10 points.