LOGAN, Ohio — The Lady Generals pressed the issue —combined with the fact that the Lady Marauders didn’t make many shots.
In the end, unfortunately for the Meigs High School girls basketball team, it was an all-around difficult go-of-things on Saturday afternoon.
That’s because the Lady Marauders fell to the top-seeded Sheridan Lady Generals 62-36 in a Division II sectional championship tilt inside Jim Myers Gymnasium in Logan.
Sheridan scored the first six points, the Lady Marauders never led, and the Lady Generals got going in almost every aspect as the contest continued.
Spearheaded by their full-court pressure defense, the Lady Generals jumped out to a 10-6 lead following the first quarter —which was then pushed to 25-17 at halftime.
However, Sheridan scored nine unanswered points to open the third frame, outscoring the Lady Marauders 20-8 in the period — and extending an advantage that only grew in the final stanza.
In fact, the Lady Generals’ Liberty Justice sank a free throw with 26.7 seconds remaining —for Sheridan’s largest lead at 62-36 and the sectional final’s final score.
With the loss, the fourth-seeded Lady Marauders end the year at 13-11 —while Sheridan raised its record to 20-4.
Saturday’s statistics definitely didn’t lie, as Meigs shot just 29-percent (15-of-52) —and made only two three-pointers on 13 attempts.
The Lady Generals also forced 21 turnovers, while committing only five themselves in addition to shooting 39-percent (25-of-64).
In falling behind by as much as 25-15 in the first half, Meigs was 7-of-26 from the field — along with a dozen turnovers.
The closest the Marauders got were 6-3 and 16-13 on Madison Fields’ three-pointers exactly seven minutes apart —sandwiched around Fields’ three-point play at the 1:50 mark of the first quarter that made it 8-6.
“We’ve unfortunately had issues like that all year where we go through stretches where we can’t put the ball in the hoop. But I think their (Generals) pressure rushed us a little bit, and we weren’t taking good rhythm shots. We had some live-ball turnovers, and you can’t do that where they can convert them into points right off the bat. And I think their physicality more than their length just started wearing us down,” said Meigs coach Jarrod Kasun. “They are a very physical team and the third quarter they imposed their will on us. They played well and got the much-deserved win.”
The Lady Marauders were still within striking distance down 25-17 at halftime, but seven points by Sheridan’s Jayden Geary — as part of the nine consecutive in the first two-and-a-half minutes of the third period — helped double the margin (34-17).
Kassidy Betzing’s basket broke the Meigs scoring drought, which actually spanned four minutes and 38 seconds.
Mikayla Rhodes’ old-fashioned three-point play, followed by back-to-back Rachel Cooke three-pointers, then made it 43-19.
Betzing broke another Lady Marauder drought, this one of two minutes and 55 seconds, to make it 43-21 at the 2:35 mark.
The only other Meigs points of the quarter were buckets by Courtney Jones at the one-minute and half-minute junctures.
Trailing 45-25 after three stops, the Maroon and Gold got outscored in the fourth frame 17-11.
“In the first half, we got shots we wanted, and the middle was open if we would have just thrown the ball to them (Marauders posts). Being down 25-17 at the half was like an amazing feat for us because we played awful. I thought that was one of the worst halves of basketball we have played. Then in the second half, they came out and started hitting some shots. We were expecting them to hit some shots. But 13 (Jayden Geary) just killed us. She was dominant on the inside and we didn’t have any answer for her,” said Kasun. “They offensive-rebounded well and (Rachel) Cooke hit some shots and spread the lead out. Once we got down, I saw our heads droop. We’re a young team so we’re still learning, but that’s no excuse.”
Geary, on seven baskets and 3-of-3 free throws, paced Sheridan and all scorers with 17 points.
Cooke, which burned Gallia Academy in the sectional semifinal for 31 points, canned all three of the Lady Generals’ triples en route to 13.
Kendyl Mick made six buckets for 12 points, as Rhodes ripped down a dozen rebounds while Geary grabbed seven.
Fields finished with 11 points on four field goals to pace Meigs, while Betzing bagged four field goals and 2-of-2 fourth-quarter free throws towards 10.
Madison Hendricks had three field goals for six points, while Taylor Swartz and Alli Hatfield had a fourth-quarter field goal apiece — and Danni Morris made a fourth-quarter foul shot.
It was the final game for four Marauder seniors — Morris, Hatfield, Jones and the injured Bre Colburn.
However, look for the Lady Marauders to re-load next season with their core group returning.
“It was a good season for us. Unfortunately, it ended a little earlier than what we wanted,” he said. “But we’re bringing back a solid nucleus next year with Kassidy Betzing and Madison Fields and Marissa Noble and Madison Hendricks and Devin Humphreys. So we have high expectations for next year. I’ll get a full summer with them this year where I didn’t last year, so we’ll be able to work on some more things. It’s not easy playing for me, I can guarantee you. We’re going to keep learning and we’re going to come back hard next year.”
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106