ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — Just like famed DC comic book heroes, the Marauders have a dynamic duo that can pack quite a punch.
Meigs seniors Kaileb Sheets and Colton Lilly combined for 48 points and 19 rebounds Friday night, leading the Maroon and Gold to a 72-64 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division guest Athens.
Meigs (4-0, 2-0 TVC Ohio) exchanged three early leads with AHS (0-3, 0-2), before opening up a 13-8 lead with 2:50 to play in the first. However, the Bulldogs closed the opening period with a 9-2 run, claiming the 17-15 lead eight minutes into play.
The Marauders still trailed by two points 5:30 into the second canto, but Meigs scored 12 of the final 14 points of the first half and went into break ahead 38-30.
Meigs widened the advantage to double digits within the opening minute of the second half, but the Bulldogs rallied to within one point with 1:26 left in the third quarter. The Marauders scored seven of the next eight points and went into the finale ahead 50-43.
With 1:53 left in the game, AHS junior Griffin Lutz sank a trifecta to tie the game at 62. Just 36 seconds later the Bulldogs took their first lead since the 2:00 mark of the second quarter, when Zacciah Saltzman sank 1-of-2 free throw attempts. Athens lead only lasted for 15 seconds however, as Lilly converted an old-fashioned three pointer off of a Sheets assist.
Meigs junior Luke Musser hit a pair of free throws with 40 seconds left to extend the MHS advantage to 67-63, but Saltzman trimmed the lead back to one score with a free throw with 25 seconds left. With 21 seconds remaining, Sheets sank back-to-back free throws, expanding the Marauder lead to 69-64. Athens’ failed to score on the next possession, and Sheets sank a buzzer-beater from beyond halfcourt for the final score of Meigs’ 72-64 victory.
“We hit our free throws and kept our composer late,” MHS head coach Ed Fry said. “Athens is getting better, they’re going to start ripping some wins off. When you have a guard like Griffin Lutz, man, you can do a lot of things. They had some other kids that stepped up for them and kept them in the game.”
Sheets finished with 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals in the win, while Lilly marked 23 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and four steals. Musser posted nine points with four assists and four rebounds, while Dillon Mahr contributed nine points. Jaxon Meadows finished with three points and five rebounds, Tyler Fields chipped in with three points and four rebounds, while Jared Kennedy posted six rebounds and the Marauders’ lone blocked shot.
“I thought a real turning point was in the second half,” said Fry. “We were trying to rush and we’re pretty good in transition, but we needed to settle down and get the ball into Lilly. Even though he’s a guard, his strongest attributes are that he’s strong physically and he can score inside. I was a little upset with him a couple times because he passed it back out.”
Meigs hit 17-of-26 (65.4 percent) free throw attempts, including five straight to seal the win. The Marauders were 24-of-55 (43.6 percent) from the field, including 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from beyond the arc. As a team Meigs had 28 defensive rebounds, 13 offensive rebounds, 13 assists, 10 steals, one block, 17 turnovers and 15 fouls.
Lutz led the charge for Athens with 36 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, four steals and a block, while Saltzman finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and three steals. Dalton Cozart had seven points for the Green and Gold, Noah Skinner and Logan Maxfield each added three, while Robert Dickleman rounded out the AHS total with two points before fouling out.
Athens shot just 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) from the charity stripe and 27-of-71 (38 percent) the field, including 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) from three-point range. As a team the Bulldogs finished with 22 defensive rebounds, 19 offensive rebounds, eight assists, nine steals, two blocks, 16 turnovers and 22 fouls. AHS pulled down seven offensive boards in the fourth quarter alone.
The Maroon and Gold will face the Bulldogs again on January 22, in The Plains. MHS, which faced Rock Hill in Saturday’s Newt Oliver Coaches Classic at Rio Grande, returns to the court on Tuesday at Jackson.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.