BIDWELL, Ohio — The Lady Marauders got the ball rolling, because they got the ball moving.
That’s because visiting Meigs shook off a shaky start, and erupted to outscore River Valley 24-6 in the tide-turning second quarter, en route to capturing a 65-34 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division girls basketball victory on Thursday night.
While the favored Lady Marauders never trailed, they were tied at 3-3 — and only led 11-7 following the first stanza.
However, over the middle two periods and in particular the second, Meigs seized complete control — outscoring the Lady Raiders 43-16 over that span.
Meigs’ Madison Hendricks hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the third for the largest advantage (35-13) at that point, as the Marauders then amounted their largest lead at 35 points (60-25, 61-26 and 63-28) in the final quarter.
As a result, the Lady Marauders keep rolling with five consecutive victories — improving their record to 11-8, and 7-3 in the TVC-Ohio.
River Valley, unfortunately, kept sliding —losing its 13th tilt in a row and falling to 2-13 (2-8 TVC-Ohio).
Meigs also completed the season sweep of the Raiders, as the Maroon and Gold gained a 55-37 triumph in the first meeting three days before Christmas.
In that event, it took the Lady Marauders until the fourth quarter to pull away.
No such drama on Thursday night.
The Lady Marauders, against River Valley’s 2-3 zone defense which helps rest its depth-thin group, shot extremely well in the second — to the tune of 24 points on eight total field goals and 6-of-8 free throws.
Kassidy Betzing and Marissa Noble netted the team’s two threes in the quarter, part of six trifectas for the game — and 24 total field goals for the entire club.
“We came out a little sluggish the first quarter, but then picked it up in the second quarter. It was a very good quarter for us,” said Meigs coach Jarrod Kasun. “The ball started moving faster against their zone. When we get the ball going, we get open shots and in rhythm. When we talk about rhythm, it’s not always about open shots. It’s about good rhythm shots. Slow down, get the ball going towards the hoop. We hit the backside block for layups. It’s just better ball movement all around and we finally got it figured out and went on from there.”
In fact, Meigs opened the period with 11 unanswered points, as River Valley didn’t score until the four-minute mark on a steal and layup by Erin Jackson.
However, the Lady Raiders never got closer than the 22-9 deficit the rest of the way.
River Valley’s only other points in the period were a Beth Gillman basket at the 3:20 mark — and Cierra Roberts beating the first-half buzzer to make it 35-13.
As the Marauders made more and more shots, the Lady Raiders missed more and more — and committed too many turnovers.
River Valley only tallied 13 total field goals, including three threes, and attempted fewer free throws (10) than the Lady Marauders (11) made.
“We came out playing really tough and really hard, not hitting some shots but were still in the ballgame. We started that second quarter, and our zone is our best defense, and we try to stay in it to keep girls out of foul trouble. But Meigs started hitting shots and it just killed us,” said River Valley coach Stephen Roderick. “They brought a little more pressure, and sometimes it’s easier to play good defense when you’re hitting shots. They come at you a little bit harder and do things a little more aggressively. Our girls turned the ball over a bit more as a result.”
All of the Lady Marauders played — and only two failed to reach the scoring column.
Madison Fields, on seven total field goals and a third-quarter free throw, paced Meigs and all scorers with 17 points.
She and Noble, who along with Hendricks had nine points apiece, knocked in two treys.
“Maddie Fields stepped up. She’s been shooting the ball well. When she hits one, she hits four in a row,” said Kasun.
Rounding out the remainder of the Marauders were Danni Morris (seven points), Alli Hatfield (six points), Betzing (five points), Devin Humphreys (four points), Courtney Jones (three points), Lydia Edwards (one basket), Taylor Swartz (one basket) and Jacynda Glover (one free throw).
Jackson, on two deuces and two triples, led the Lady Raiders with 13 points.
Jessica Steele scored seven points — on two twos and 3-of-6 free throws.
Gillman garnered five points, followed by Maggie Campbell with four, Jaden Neal with three and Roberts with her two.
“We struggle offensively, and it’s something that’s a work in progress,” said Roderick. “We’re just not there yet. We play hard every time out. We just don’t do all the little things needed to win AND hit shots. But I’m happy with the girls that they keep fighting and playing, especially in a season like this.”
Both squads returned home, and returned to non-league action on Saturday, as Meigs hosted Logan and River Valley welcomed Gallia Academy.
Both teams return to the road on Monday, and return to TVC-Ohio Division action, as Meigs travels to Vinton County while River Valley ventures to Nelsonville-York.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106