ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — Simply too big of a hole to dig out of.
The Meigs girls basketball team trailed Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division guest Alexander by 18 points at halftime on Thursday at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium, and the Lady Spartans held on for a 49-36 victory.
Alexander (12-6, 6-3 TVC Ohio) never trailed in the game, charging out to a 7-3 lead after 3:30 of play. Meigs (9-10, 5-5) fought back to tie the game at 10 with 2:57 left in the first, but AHS closed the first with a 5-0 run and a 15-10 advantage.
The Lady Spartans scored the first seven points of the second quarter and led 22-10 with 6:30 left in the half. Meigs outscored Alexander 3-to-2 over the next three minutes, but the Lady Spartans scored eight of the final nine points in the half and went into the break with a 32-14 advantage.
“Alexander really likes to get up in your face,” second-year MHS head coach Jarrod Kasun said. “Their tempo and their defensive intensity really dictated the first half. We had too many turnovers, we couldn’t make shot and we couldn’t get the ball into the paint.”
The Maroon and Gold began the second half with a 12-3 run, trimming the AHS lead to single digits, at 35-26, by the midway point of the third period. However, Meigs was held to just two points over the remainder of the third and Alexander stretched its lead to 41-28 headed into the finale.
The Lady Spartans began the fourth with back-to-back triples and led by a game-high 19 points with six minutes to play. Meigs scored eight of the final 10 points in the game, making the final margin of 49-36 in favor of Alexander.
“We’re down 18 going into the half, so the girls don’t have anything to lose,” Kasun said. “We came out and played care free and look what happens, we cut it to single digits and had a chance to cut it to seven. Give them credit, we missed a couple of shots, they came down and buried a couple of threes. That’s been the story of our season, we’ve had chances to overcome some humps, and the other team tends to make shots when they have to.”
After shooting just 4-of-23 (17.4 percent) from the field in the first half, the Lady Marauders finished the game shooting at a 14-of-52 (26.9 percent) rate, including 2-of-19 (10.5 percent) from beyond the arc. For the game, Alexander shot 19-of-47 (40.4 percent), including 6-of-21 (28.6 percent) from three-point range.
At the free throw line, MHS shot 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) and AHS was 5-of-8 (62.5 percent).
Alexander won the rebounding battle by a 28-to-24 tally, despite Meigs taking an 11-to-9 edge in offensive boards. The Lady Marauders committed 14 turnovers, 11 of which came in the first half, while the Lady Spartans turned the ball over 18 times, 12 of which were in the second half.
AHS held advantages of 8-to-5 in assists and 3-to-2 in blocked shots, while MHS picked up a 7-to-5 edge in steals.
The Lady Marauders were far from full strength on Thursday, with four players being held out of action due to injury.
“It’s been a tough run for us injury-wise,” Kasun said. “We played hard, the six that played most of the minutes played tough. I’m pleased with the second half, the final score dosen’t look like what we want it to be, but we had our chances to make them sweat and that’s all we were trying to accomplish in the second half.”
The hosts were led by junior Kassidy Betzing with nine points, eight rebounds and two assists. Madison Fields recorded eight points and six boards, Marissa Noble added seven points, while Becca Pullins scored six. Taylor Swartz contributed three points and six rebounds to the MHS cause, while Alyssa Smith and Madison Hendricks chipped in with two points and one point respectively.
Betzing and Noble each drained a three-pointer for the Maroon and Gold. Pullins paced the Meigs defense with two steals and a rejection.
Rachel Richardson led the Lady Spartans with 19 points and four assists, while Kenna Rice had 11 points and eight rebounds. Mallory Rankin scored nine points in the game, while Jadyn Mace picked up eight points and eight rebounds. Abby Howard rounded out the team total with four points.
Richardson, Rice and Rankin each made two three-pointers in the contest. Richardson and Rice led the Lady Spartan defense with two steals and a block apiece.
The Maroon and Gold were 11 points closer than they were in their first meeting with the Lady Spartans, as Alexander won 65-41 in Albany on Dec. 18.
After a trip to Wellston on Friday, the Maroon and Gold will return home to face Nelsonville-York on Monday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100