JACKSON, Ohio — Outrebounded and out of the tournament.
The Meigs boys basketball team lost the rebounding battle by 18 on Friday night at Jackson High School, and the ninth-seeded Marauders fell to top-seeded Oak Hill by a 41-27 count in the Division III sectional title game.
Oak Hill (20-2) never trailed, hitting three straight three-pointers in the first four minutes of the contest. Meigs (9-14) outscored the Oaks by a 5-to-4 count over the remainder of the first quarter and trailed 13-5 eight minutes into play.
The Marauders scored the first six points of the second quarter, trimming the Oak Hill lead to one possession, at 13-11, with 6:00 left in the half.
In the next four minutes, OHHS hit four three-pointers and extended its advantage back to nine points, at 26-17. The Marauders scored the final three points of the first half and went into the break with a 26-20 deficit.
The Oaks held Meigs off the board for over five minutes to start the second half, and the Oak Hill lead was stretched to 34-24 by the end of the third quarter.
Oak Hill scored the first three points of the fourth, but a Weston Baer three-pointer cut the Oaks’ lead back to 10 with 3:40 to play. OHHS hit 4-of-6 free throws after that, sealing the 41-27 victory and a second straight sectional title.
“Rebounding becomes so critical, because each possession is so critical,” Marauders head coach Ed Fry said. “I thought that was the story of the game, we just could not get a rebound.”
The Oaks outrebounded the Marauders by a 30-to-12 tally, including 15-to-3 on the offensive glass. OHHS also claimed advantages of 9-to-4 in assists, 5-to-4 in steals and 6-to-1 in blocked shots. However, Oak Hill turned the ball over 14 times, six more times than MHS.
“They are obviously a very experienced, quick, strong team,” Fry said of the Oaks. “They played excellent defense and it was tough to score on them. When we’re letting them get 3-or-4 shots each time down, it kind of creates an impossible scenario for us.”
Meigs shot 11-of-35 (31.4 percent) from the field, including 1-of-6 (16.7 percent) from three-point range, while Oak Hill shot 12-of-33 (36.4 percent) from the field, including 8-of-22 (36.4 percent) from deep. At the free throw line, MHS was 4-of-6 (66.7 percent) and OHHS was 9-of-16 (56.3 percent).
Baer led the Marauders with a dozen points, followed by Zach Bartrum with nine points and a team-high four rebounds. Wyatt Hoover had four points for the Maroon and Gold, while Nick Lilly had two points and a team-best three assists.
Lilly led the MHS defense with a pair of steals, while Bobby Musser rejected a shot.
OHHS senior Landon Carroll hit a game-best four trifectas and finished with 17 points. Nolan Carroll made a pair of three-pointers and had nine points, while Mason Darby marked eight points to go with game-highs of nine rebounds and four assists.
Mitchell Hale scored six points on a pair of three-pointers, while Brett Long finished with one point and eight boards in the win. Nolan Carroll paced the OHHS defense with three steals and two blocks, followed by Long with one steal and two rejections.
The Oaks advance to the Division III district semifinal at Ohio University on March 3.
Without a senior on the team, Meigs will now prepare for its final game and the future.
“I reminded our kids in the locker room just now that they’re all graduating and our best days are ahead of us,” Fry said. “I also reminded them that we have an opportunity tomorrow night to end our season with a win. I’m very proud of the way they played tonight, we just didn’t get the rebounds, it’s as simple as that. Our best days are ahead of us.”
The Marauders host River Valley in the regular season finale on Saturday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.