ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — It may have taken a while, but Chase Weihl and the Warriors finally got going against the Meigs Marauders.
Spearheaded by a 1-3-1 second-half zone defense, and with Weihl scoring 17 of his game-high 22 points in the final 16 minutes, visiting Warren captured a 60-46 non-league boys basketball victory on Tuesday night — inside Meigs High School’s Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium.
The contest marked Warren’s season opener, while the Marauders — which opened with a 70-53 non-league loss to Gallia Academy on Friday night — fell to 0-2.
While the Marauders are known for their 1-3-1 zone, it was the Warriors — with their 1-3-1 half-court zone in the second half — that turned the tide on Tuesday.
With Warren leading 25-24 at halftime, the Warriors forced a bevy of Marauder turnovers that turned into offense.
The Warriors outscored Meigs 35-21 in the second half, but it was a 22-13 third-quarter surge that propelled Warren into runaway mode.
And, speaking of runaway, watching Weihl — the six-foot, seven-inch Warren center — was like witnessing a locomotive barrelling in for two thunderous dunks.
His first slam capped a spree of seven unanswered Warren points that made it 34-27 just two minutes and 20 seconds into the third quarter.
With three minutes and five seconds to play, Weihl ran the fast break — and threw down another two-hander to make it 53-39.
In all, Weihl went off for eight field goals and 6-of-9 free throws — with all but two buckets and one foul shot in the second half.
He also grabbed seven rebounds, and blocked five shots.
“Chase (Weihl) had a great second half, and we had to make some adjustments and went to a 1-3-1 (zone defense) that created some offense for us. Sometimes, we’re going to have to do some zone things and use our size and keep our bigs in the middle and contest shots,” said Warren coach Blane Maddox. “We’re not necessarily quick in all spots, but we’re big and long. We found a way to shorten the court on Meigs a little bit.”
The Marauders, meanwhile, missed a lot of shots.
They made just 30-percent overall on 16-of-53 — netting only 10 of their 33 two-point attempts, combined with a 6-of-20 performance from three-point range.
After facing Gallia Academy’s Zach Loveday and Justin Peck, which stand at 6-11 and 6-5 respectively, Meigs had to deal with Weihl and the other sizable Warriors.
Weihl — with his wingspan — was on top of the 1-3-1, and the Marauders mounted turnovers in the form of poor passes or giveaways as the result of Warren’s length.
Still, despite seeing shots being contested, Meigs coach Ed Fry admitted that his squad simply isn’t shooting well.
“We’re missing three-pointers, but we’re also missing a lot of two-point baskets, a lot of easy baskets we should be getting,” he said. “Zones are giving us trouble right now. We’re shooting a lot with a hand of our face.”
Warren went to its zone thanks to first-half foul trouble, in which Weihl and fellow forward Josh Huffman had to be benched.
“I was fired up with Chase at halftime for the second foul he picked up. Josh (Huffman) and Chase were in foul trouble and we had to go small,” said Maddox. “That messed up a lot of our rhythm. But give credit to Meigs. They played hard, kept on us and outrebounded us at halftime.”
Aside from the ties at 2-2 and 7-7, the Marauders had trailed for the entire half — including by a count of 21-11 with 6:11 to play in the second stanza.
But Meigs scored nine unanswered to trail by one at the three-minute mark, before Bishop Ford scored his second field goal to make it 23-20 only 15 seconds later.
The Marauders’ Dillon Mahr then made two free throws with 2:19 left in the quarter, then Luke Musser made a steal and layup off an inbound turnover to put Meigs in front for its only lead (24-23).
However, that Marauders’ lead lasted only 52 seconds, as Kyler Dennis drained two free throws with 15.5 tics to go — giving the Warriors the advantage for good.
Huffman hit a shot only 20 seconds into the second half, then Musser made the second of his four threes for a 27-27 tie.
The Maroon and Gold got no closer, though, as Weihl bagged a baseline jumper, Dennis dropped in a three-ball, and finally Weihl raced in for his first of two dunks.
Mahr made a field goal to trim the deficit to 34-29, but a 10-3 Warrior run over the next two minutes and 20 seconds pushed the lead to double figures where it remained the rest of the way.
Warren’s largest margin stood at 60-43, as the advantage remained at least double digits for the final 10 minutes and 15 seconds.
“They had some foul trouble, but they went zone (1-3-1) and I thought that was the turning point of the ballgame,” said Fry. “I wasn’t surprised that Weihl was on top of the zone. They put the tallest kid out there on top to disrupt the passing lanes.”
Dennis — on two deuces, two treys and 3-of-3 free throws — added 13 points for the Warriors, while Huffman hit five field goals and 2-of-2 first-quarter free throws towards 12.
Bryce Gandee, on a third-quarter three and a fourth-quarter two, finished with five.
Huffman had nine rebounds, as Meigs’ Jared Kennedy led all rebounders with 10 — in addition to three blocks.
Musser made three of his four trifectas in the third frame, part of six total field goals and a team-high 16 points.
Mahr managed the other two Meigs triples en route to 13 points, as Christian Mattox — on four field goals and 2-of-5 free throws — mustered 10.
Both Kennedy and Mahr made 3-of-4 free throws, as Kennedy connected for five points while Garrett Buckley bucketed a field goal.
After opening at home with back-to-back Blue and White clubs, the Marauders will face back-to-back two teams from Jackson County.
And, both are 2-0.
Meigs will welcome Jackson for another non-league tilt on Friday night, before facing Oak Hill at the University of Rio Grande on Saturday.
Tipoff time for the Oak Hill bout is set for 6 p.m.
As for the Marauders’ opening-week ills, Fry thinks it’s all a matter of just making some shots.
“When you’re 0-2, you take everybody seriously,” said the coach. “We need to shoot the ball better, and shooting makes up for a multitude of sins. You make some shots and that can erase some mistakes.”
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106