PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — It’s good to be king.
The Meigs boys basketball team was crowned King of the Smokies, going 3-0 in the three-day Christmas classic, which the Marauders capped off with a 72-58 victory over Hayden, in Thursday’s championship game.
Meigs (6-4) — which has now won six straight decisions — advanced to the tournament finals after a 72-46 win over Cannon County, on Tuesday, and a 80-76 comeback victory over previously unbeaten Holly Pond, on Wednesday.
“Our boys played with purpose and passion each night, and we beat two very good teams to win the tournament championship,” Marauders head coach Ed Fry said. “It was a great experience, which I think will give us the confidence to play very good basketball the rest of the season.”
In the championship game, Hayden (9-3) — a class 5A school from Alabama, which had won seven straight games — grabbed a narrow 21-19 lead after eight minutes of play. Meigs held the Wildcats to just seven points in the second quarter, as the Maroon and Gold took a 36-28 halftime advantage.
Both teams scored 18 points to make the score 54-46, with eight minutes to play. MHS outscored the Black and Gold 18-to-12 in the final stanza, as Meigs sealed the 72-58 victory and the tournament championship.
The Marauders were led by junior Christian Mattox with 19 points, followed by Jared Kennedy and Dillon Mahr with 14 apiece. Kennedy was named tournament Most Valuable Player, while Mahr and Mattox both earned all-tournament team honors.
Luke Musser scored seven points for the Maroon and Gold, Bailey Caruthers and Zach Bartrum both added six points, while Weston Baer, Devon Hawley and T.J. Williams each finished with two markers.
HHS junior Sheridan Miller led the Wildcats with 18 points, followed by Christian Campbell with 14. Ryan Sanderson scored eight points in the setback, Colton Shirley and Leonard Johnson both scored six points, while Logan Campbell marked five and Konnor Register added one.
For the game, Meigs was 13-of-21 (61.9 percent) from the free throw line, while Hayden was 6-of-15 (40 percent). The Wildcats connected on 10 three-pointers in the contest, twice as many as Meigs.
The Marauders will return to the Buckeye State and visit Eastern, on January 3.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.