THE PLAINS, Ohio — Always beware of a wounded dog.
The Athens Bulldogs boys basketball team — which was without the services of usual starters Griffin Lutz and Robert Dickelman due to injuries — pulled off a 68-65 upset victory over Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division guest Meigs, on Saturday evening in McAfee Gymnasium.
The Marauders (14-3, 6-3 TVC Ohio) led 18-to-11 after the opening stanza, but the advantage was trimmed to one point, 31-30, by halftime.
Meigs outscored Athens (9-7, 6-3) by a 17-to-13 clip in the third period, making the MHS lead 48-43 headed into the finale.
The Maroon and Gold scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, expanding the lead to 12, but the Bulldogs answered with a 23-8 run to take the lead at 66-64 with 18 seconds remaining. Meigs cut the deficit to one point with 10 seconds left, but AHS sank a pair of free throws extend the lead to 68-65. The Marauders attempted to force overtime, but the three-point shot fell short and the Bulldogs escaped with the 68-65 win.
MHS senior Kaileb Sheets led the Maroon and Gold with 24 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocked shots, while Colton Lilly and Luke Musser both scored 12 points. Christian Mattox scored six points, Jaxon Meadows added five, while Tyler Fields contributed four. Jared Kennedy rounded out the MHS scoring with two points in the setback.
The Marauders shot 12-of-20 (60 percent) from the free throw stripe and 25-of-53 (47.2 percent) from the field, including 3-of-9 (33.3 percent) from three-point range. Collectivley, Meigs finished with 23 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals, four blocks and nine turnovers.
Zacciah Saltzman led the Bulldogs with 27 points and four assists, followed by Dalton Cozart with 19 points. Justin Hines scored six points and pulled in a game-best nine rebounds, Brody Ball scored five points, while Noah Skinner and Logan Maxfield rounded out the AHS scoring with four points each.
Athens made 11-of-15 (73.3 percent) free throw attempts and 24-of-52 (46.2 percent) field goal tries, including 9-of-26 (34.6 percent) from beyond the arc. As a team the Green and Gold recorded 35 rebounds, 13 assists, three steals, two blocks and 18 turnovers.
The season series between AHS and MHS now sits tied a 1-1, as Meigs claimed a 72-64 victory over Athens on December 11 at Larry R. Morrison Gymnasium. Griffin Lutz led Athens in that game with 36 points and 10 rebounds.
Meigs returns to action at home on Friday when the Maroon and Gold look for revenge on Alexander, which handed the Marauders their first loss of the season, by a 80-69 count in Albany on January 15.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.