MARIETTA, Ohio — Victory simply slipped out of the Marauders’ grasp.
The Meigs boys basketball team took a five-point lead with 46 seconds left in overtime of its non-conference game during Saturday’s River City Classic on the campus of Marietta College, but Whitehall-Yearling tied the game with 13 seconds left, stole ball with seven seconds to go, and sealed the 69-67 victory with a layup as time expired.
Meigs (4-6) dug an early hole, falling behind by an 8-1 clip 3:05 into play. The Maroon and Gold were back to within two points, at 15-13, by the end of the opening quarter, hitting a trio of field goals and all-6 of their free throw attempts.
MHS took their first lead 20 seconds into the second quarter, as Coulter Cleland drained a three-pointer. After two more lead changes, the Marauders stretched their advantage to five points, at 23-18, with 4:30 left in half.
The Rams (5-3) tied the game at 23 within 45 seconds, but Cleland and Nick Lilly hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Meigs a 29-23 lead with 2:50 remaining in the half. Whitehall-Yearling scored the final six points of the half, however, tying the game at 29.
WYHS took a two-point lead to open the second half, but a Weston Baer three-pointer gave Meigs a 32-31 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter. However, the Rams regained the lead and stretched it to double-digits, at 46-36, with a 15-4 run over the next 4:30.
The Marauders closed the third quarter with a 7-to-4 spurt and trailed 50-43 headed into the finale.
Back-to-back buckets by Zach Bartrum, followed by another three-pointer by Baer gave Meigs a 51-50 lead 1:30 into the fourth quarter. Whitehall-Yearling regained the edge 10 seconds later, but the Marauders scored the next six points and led 57-52 by the midway point of the period.
Whitehall-Yearling tied the game at 57 with 2:53 left in regulation, but a two-pointer by Cleland reestablished the MHS lead. The Rams answered with 1:38 left, and neither team could find the net after that, as they headed for overtime tied at 59.
A two-pointer by Cleland gave Meigs a lead 30 seconds into the overtime, but the Rams tied the game with a field goal of their own with 2:11 left. A free throw by Zach Bartrum reestablished the Marauder lead with 1:46 to go, and 18 seconds later a Cleland two-pointer made it a three-point game.
With 46 seconds left, Zach Bartrum hit two more free throws, making the MHS lead 66-61. Just five seconds later Dorsien Butler drained a trifecta to trim the margin to 66-64, but Zach Bartrum made another free throw with 27 seconds left, making Meigs’ lead 67-64.
A three-pointer by Amir Dallas tied the game at 67 with 13 seconds left, and then Charles Miller made the game-winning steal, drive and layup for the Rams.
Following the 69-67 setback, MHS head coach Jeremy Hill acknowledged the Rams’ strengths, but admitted his team didn’t do what it took in the closing minutes to win the game.
“Whitehall’s a very good ball club, very athletic, very quick, can jump out of the gym and all that kind of stuff,” Hill said. “I don’t think Whitehall did anything to win the basketball game. I think our execution down the stretch, free throws, might have been the difference the game. Hat’s off to Whitehall for winning the game, but I think it was more about what we did not do, than what they did.”
This marks the Marauders’ fourth loss in their last five outings, and Hill talked about challenging his team not to be satisfied with its recent results.
“We just talked about it with the boys, playing hard and great effort, no one will ever fault them for that,” Hill said. “They play hard and they give great effort, but it’s time that we get a little bit angry about losing. The challenge was put out there, that they get a little bit bitter about losing, and start to have the attitude that we’re not going to let this happen again.”
For the game, Meigs shot 22-of-54 (40.7 percent) from the field, including 6-of-12 (50 percent) from three-point range. Whitehall-Yearling made 27-of-61 (44.3 percent) of its field goal attempts, including 3-of-9 (33.3 percent) three-point tries.
MHS was 17-of 24 (70.8 percent) from the free throw line, but missed four of its final eight foul shots. The victors were 12-of-17 (70.6 percent) from the charity stripe.
The Marauders won the rebounding battle by a 34-to-27 clip, including 13-to-11 on the offensive end, but committed 22 turnovers, a dozen more than the Rams. MHS had team totals of 13 assists, three steals and two blocked shots, while WYHS recorded 14 steals, 10 assists and seven rejections.
Cleland led the Maroon and Gold with 23 points, combining a trio of triples, a quartet of two-pointers, and a 5-of-6 day at the line. Baer finished with 19 points, including six from long range, while Zach Bartrum marked 15 points and a game-high five assists.
Nick Lilly had seven points and a game-best nine rebounds in the setback, Bobby Musser chipped in with three points, while Ty Bartrum dished out four assists. The MHS defense was led by Lilly with two steals and Musser with two blocked shots.
Whitehall Yearling was led by Butler and Miller with 20 points apiece. Kievan Wiggins had 12 points and a team-best six rebounds, Taylon Cofer added nine points and a team-high four assists, while Dallas ended with five points. Manny Hilton and J.V. Hoover rounded out the winning tally with two points and one point respectively.
The Ram defense was led by Cofer with four steals and two blocked shots, as well as Jaiion Lowe with five rejections and a steal.
Meigs will be back on its home court to face Athens in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division tilt on Friday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.