BIDWELL, Ohio — It was a little cold for streaking, but the Marauders went ahead and did it again anyway.
A 33-12 surge over the middle quarters allowed visiting Meigs to stay unbeaten Friday night during a 61-39 decision over River Valley in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division boys basketball contest in Gallia County.
As the 2015 season’s first accumulative snowfall rolled through the area, the Marauders (7-0, 3-0 TVC Ohio) eventually found a warm rhythm by applying smothering pressure and dominating the offensive glass from the opening tip.
The Raiders (1-8, 0-4) did an efficient job of handling those tasks early on, as the hosts stormed out to a 10-2 advantage with 2:36 left in the opening period. MHS, however, countered with a 6-2 run over the final 1:56 to close to within 12-8 after eight minutes of play.
The Marauders followed by hitting their first four shots of the second canto, with Dillon Mahr capping that 10-2 run with a trifecta at the 6:03 mark — giving MHS an 18-14 lead. RVHS twice closed to within a possession at 19-16 and 21-18, but the guests made a 4-0 spurt in the final minute to secure a 25-18 edge at the break.
The Raiders committed six turnovers and went only 1-of-10 from the field in the third period, and Meigs made the most of that opportunity after going on an 11-6 run in the opening four minutes for a 36-24 cushion. MHS — which held the hosts scoreless over the final 4:39 of the third — ended the quarter with a 5-0 spurt to secure 41-24 lead headed into the finale.
River Valley whittled the lead down to 10 points (45-35) following a basket by Kirk Morrow with 4:35 left in regulation, but the guests closed the final 4:14 of play with a 16-4 surge — which gave Meigs its largest lead of the night with the 22-point triumph.
The Maroon and Gold outrebounded RVHS by a 46-30 overall margin, which included a sizable 21-9 edge on the offensive glass. The Marauders committed only nine turnovers in the contest, while the Raiders committed 14 miscues — with 10 of those coming in the second and third stanzas.
Meigs — which was without starting guard Kaileb Sheets due to his participation in an all-star football game in Texas — had eight different players reach the scoring column while picking up its fifth road victory of the season.
After surviving a non-league scare on the road earlier in the week, second-year MHS coach Ed Fry acknowledged that his troops were a little more focused when they got off the bus Friday. He also noted that even though his offense endured some struggles, it was the team’s defensive effort that really made the difference tonight.
“We had a real wake-up call at Jackson Tuesday night, so our kids were much more mentally prepared for a road trip this time around,” Fry said. “We extended our defense so that we could keep the pace moving, and the kids that were in there just kept it going with a lot of grit and determination. This isn’t the easiest place to come into and win a game, but I think the pressure and the pace eventually wore them down.
“The kids our really playing well together right now and everybody is making contributions during this good start. Given the circumstances of what we were facing tonight, I’m extremely proud of the way they played.”
River Valley, conversely, is facing a whole different set of circumstances at the moment, as the Raiders continue to battle injuries and fatigue in the midst of an eight-game losing skid.
Second-year RVHS coach Jeremy Peck notes that his team is still working as hard as ever, but he also believes that three weeks of tough luck is starting to catch up with his troops.
“We seem to be caught up in the same kind of thing here of late in that we’re able to build some early leads and then let them go, then we lose a little bit of our intensity when a few things don’t go our way. We just have to show more focus and stay motivated when the tough stretches come,” Peck said. “I will give my boys a lot of credit though, it’s never been about a lack of effort. These guys are playing their hearts out, but the injuries and all the games that we’ve played in December are already taking a little bit of a toll. But, as I said, the kids are still fighting and giving me everything they have. Eventually, things are going to turn around for us with the effort we’re putting in.”
Meigs connected on 24-of-58 field goal attempts for 41 percent, which included a 2-of-17 effort from three-point range for 12 percent. The guests were also 11-of-19 at the free throw line for 58 percent.
Dillon Mahr — who was held scoreless in the first quarter — led Meigs with a game-high 21 points, followed by Colton Lilly with 11 points and Christian Mattox with seven markers. Luke Musser and Jared Kennedy were next with six points apiece, while Jaxon Meadows chipped in five markers.
Tyler Fields and Devon Hawley rounded out the winning tally with respective efforts of three points and two points. Mattox led the guests with 10 rebounds and Lilly added another nine caroms.
The Raiders netted 14-of-47 shot attempts for 30 percent, including a 4-of-21 effort from behind the arc for 19 percent. The hosts were also 7-of-20 at the charity stripe for 35 percent.
Jarrett McCarley paced River Valley with 14 points, followed by Morrow with 13 points and Dustin Barber with eight markers. Ian Polcyn wrapped up the scoring with four points and also contributed a team-best eight caroms, while Mark Wray and Jacob Dovenbarger each hauled in six boards.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.