ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — The Lady Marauders’ defense was at its best when they needed it most.
The Meigs girls basketball claimed a 48-37 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division guest Vinton County, on Wednesday night in Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium, after holding the Lady Vikings scoreless for over six minutes to start the fourth quarter.
The teams battled through four lead changes in the opening quarter, with Meigs (7-8, 4-3 TVC Ohio) finishing the stanza with an 8-1 run and a 13-8 lead.
Vinton County (6-10, 4-4) cut the deficit to three points, at 17-14, with a 6-to-4 run over the first 4:05 of the second quarter. VCHS went scoreless for the rest of the half, however, as the Lady Marauders pushed their lead to 21-14 by halftime.
The Lady Vikings began the second half with a 10-2 run, giving the guests a 24-23 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter. There were five more lead changes in the period, with the Lady Marauders holding a 33-32 lead at the conclusion of the third.
Meigs scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter, as VCHS was held scoreless from the 1:01 mark of the third quarter, to the 1:46 mark of the fourth quarter. The Lady Vikings scored five straight points to cut the deficit to six points, at 43-37. However, the Lady Marauders went 5-of-6 from the free throw line in the final minute of play, capping off the 48-37 victory.
“We probably played our most complete game in a while,” first-year Meigs head coach Jarrod Kasun said. “If you look at it, we’ve had great spurts, we’ve played a good first half or first quarter. This time we stayed the course, we played a pretty solid four quarters. I wouldn’t say that it’s the best we’ve played, but at least we were consistent and we were in the game.”
Prior to Wednesday, The Maroon and Gold had lost four straight games and seven of their last eight. Twice during the MHS four-game skid, Meigs was within 10 points of victory.
“It was nice that it wasn’t us, finally, that had one of those bad spurts,” Kasun said. “I’m just happy that we got off the skid. The girls just buckled down and played hard, they wanted to win. They knew that we’d been playing well enough to get some W’s against some very good teams.”
For the game, Meigs held a 40-to-33 advantage in rebounding, including 13-to-11 on the offensive glass. The Lady Marauders committed 18 turnovers — two more than VCHS — but the hosts claimed a 10-to-6 advantage in assists. Vinton County’s defense held an 8-to-7 advantage in steals and a 3-to-1 edge in blocked shots.
“That’s a good team and (Cassie) Bentley is a solid player,” Kasun said. “Vinton County has always been a really good team. We went after them and we played well.”
Meigs shot 17-of-52 (32.7 percent) from the field, including 1-of-5 from three-point range. Meanwhile, VCHS was 14-of-58 (24.1 percent) from the field, including 6-of-29 (20.7 percent) from beyond the arc. The Lady Vikings hit just 3-of-12 (25 percent) free throws, while MHS was 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) from the line, including 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) in the fourth quarter.
MHS junior Devin Humphreys led the Maroon and Gold with a double-double effort of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Next was Kassidy Betzing with nine points, nine rebounds and a team-best four assists. Madison Fields and Marissa Noble both scored seven points in the win, Madison Hendricks added five points, while Alli Hatfield chipped in with four points.
Meigs’ defensive effort was led by Noble with three steals, and Hatfield with a rejection.
Josie Ousley led Vinton County with 12 points, followed by Cassie Bentley and Darian Radabaugh with 11 apiece. Lexi Erickson rounded out the Lady Viking offense with two points.
Bentley finished with game-bests of 14 rebounds and two blocked shots, while Erin Jones marked team-highs of four assists and three steals for VCHS.
Meigs will try to sweep the Lady Vikings on February 6, when these teams face off in McArthur.
After hosting Wellston on Thursday, the Lady Marauders will visit South Gallia for a non-league bout, on Saturday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.