ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — They may have needed four extra minutes, but the Lady Marauders eventually finished what they started.
The Meigs girls basketball team led for 28:14 of regulation in Thursday’s Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division bout inside Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium, but visiting Athens still forced overtime, tying the game at 49 with seven seconds left. MHS took the lead 16 seconds into the extra session and never looked back on its way to the 60-51 victory.
Athens (2-7, 0-4 TVC Ohio) led initially, but Meigs (8-3, 4-2) claimed the advantage at 7-5 and never trailed again. The Lady Bulldogs tied the game at seven, but the hosts claimed nine of the next 12 markers and led 16-10 with 1:00 left in the first.
Athens closed the first quarter with a trifecta and scored the first two points of the second, trimming the MHS lead to a single point with 6:55 remaining in the half. Meigs’ lead was stretched to seven points, at 25-18, with 5:18 left in the half, but the hosts went scoreless for the next 4:30, as the Lady Bulldogs tied it at 25.
The Maroon and Gold scored the final five points of the half and headed into the break with a 30-25 edge.
Athens was held off the board for over 3:30 to start the second half, as Meigs built its lead to double digits, at 35-25. The Lady Bulldogs ended their drought with a seven straight points, before MHS tallied a three-pointer to end the run.
The Green and Gold cut their deficit to 39-34 by the end of the third, and made it a one-point game, at 44-43, with 2:56 left in regulation. Meigs made 5-of-6 free throws over the next 1:41 and led 49-43 with 1:15 to play.
With a minute remaining, Athens pulled within three points with an old-fashioned three-pointer. Meigs came up empty from the free throw line with 37 seconds left, and the Lady Bulldogs capitalized with a Lilly Mills three-pointer on an assist from Mindi Gregory, tying the game with seven seconds left.
Athens’ potential game-winning three-pointer bounced off the rim twice before falling away from the basket, leaving the teams tied at 49.
Meigs reestablished its lead with 3:44 left in the overtime period, as Madison Fields nailed a two-pointer. Athens never got closer than two, as the Lady Marauders cruised to the 60-51 win.
Following the victory, MHS head coach Jarrod Kasun was happy to get the win, and acknowledge his team is a little fatigued from the busy schedule.
“Give Athens credit, they hit some shots in the first half, some threes that hurt us and kept the game close,” said Kasun. “We just couldn’t get any rhythm. We’re at the back end of a long haul, this is already our 11th game and I think our legs are getting a little tired. We just have to keep playing through it, and luckily we came out with a W.”
Meigs shot 18-of-54 (33.3 percent) from the field, including 2-of-21 (9.5 percent) from three-point range, while Athens was 18-of-52 (34.6 percent) from the field, including 6-of-20 (30 percent) from deep. At the free throw line, MHS was 22-of-36 (61.1 percent), while AHS was 9-of-15 (60 percent).
The Lady Bulldogs won the rebounding battle by a narrow 32-to-30 clip, despite the hosts earning a 10-to-7 edge in offensive boards. Collectively, the Lady Marauders finished with 10 steals, seven assists, five blocks and nine turnovers. AHS finished with team totals of 10 assists, four steals, two blocks and 21 turnovers.
MHS senior Kassidy Betzing led the hosts with 26 points and three assists, to go with a game-high five steals. Mallory Hawley finished with 16 points, and game-bests of eight rebounds and three rejections, while Fields came up with seven points and three assists.
Taylor Swartz contributed six points and six rebounds to the winning cause, Marissa Noble added four points, while Becca Pullins scored one.
Laura Manderick — who led the AHS defense with two steals and a block — paced the Lady Bulldog offense with 15 points. Kylee Stewart marked 11 points and seven rebounds for the guests, while Gregory added nine points and three assists.
Mills had six points for AHS, while Emma Harter and Kesi Federspiel scored three apiece, with Harter grabbing seven boards. Bella Tan rounded out the guests total with two points.
These teams will rematch on Feb. 4 in The Plains. After playing in the Wellston Shootout on Saturday, Meigs will be back in action at the River City Classic in Marietta on Friday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.