McARTHUR, Ohio — Meigs High School girls basketball coach Jarrod Kasun was quite emphatic with his postgame media comments on Monday night.
“By far, this is the best game we’ve played all year. It’s not even close,” he said.
And, truth be told, given what the Lady Marauders did at Vinton County, that point would be difficult to argue.
Meigs erased an early 12-5 deficit, then blitzed the host Vikings 36-15 in the middle two quarters — en route to capturing a convincing 53-35 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division victory.
Simply put, the Marauders played well offensively in the opening three periods —despite their good shots not falling through in the first.
But Meigs really found the rhythm in the second and third frames, taking the lead at the 3:07 mark of the second stanza — and never relinquishing it from there.
By outscoring the Vikings 18-10 in the second eight minutes, the Maroon and Gold managed a 27-22 halftime advantage —then blew the game open with another 18-point output in the third.
Simultaneously, the Lady Marauders stymied Vinton County to only five third-period points — as the Vikings endured a four-minute and 57-second scoring drought, in which they fell behind 41-24 in the process.
Finally, Meigs scored six unanswered points in a 3:57 span for its largest lead of the night — 49-27 with 5:20 remaining.
With the victory, the Lady Marauders made it six triumphs in their last seven outings —raising their record to 12-9 and 8-3 in the TVC-Ohio.
The loss left the Lady Vikings at 9-12 — and 6-5 in the league.
Kasun also claimed the importance of Monday night’s matchup.
“I made this the biggest game of the year, because if we win this game, we can finish in third-place all alone in the league. This was a huge game for us. All of our kids really stepped up and played great games tonight,” he said.
The Lady Marauders doubled up the Lady Vikings (22-11) in total field goals, and had four players with at least nine points.
Devin Humphreys had five total field goals towards a team-high dozen points, including a pair of three-pointers —the second of which made it 32-24 with 6:12 to play in the third.
She scored seven in the quarter, as Alli Hatfield added 11 — on four baskets and 3-of-3 foul shots.
Kassidy Betzing and Marissa Noble netted nine points apiece, as Noble finished with four field goals — while Betzing bagged three field goals and a pair of second-quarter free throws.
Both canned a second-stanza three-pointer, including Betzing’s with 2:18 remaining — making it 23-18 and capping nine unanswered points over a two-minute stretch.
Madison Fields, Madison Hendricks and Danni Morris made two baskets apiece for four points, including Hendricks hitting a short runner in the lane to beat the first-half buzzer.
After Vinton County’s Cassie Bentley tallied her only second-half points just 57 seconds into the third quarter, the Marauders scored on their next four possessions —part of 14 unanswered over almost five minutes.
Hatfield had an old-fashioned three-point play, then Humphreys scored off a Betzing assist to make it 41-24 at the 2:22 mark.
The Lady Vikings’ only other points of the period were a Josie Ousley bucket at the 2:06 mark —and a free throw by Darian Radabaugh just 34 seconds later.
“In the first quarter, we had open shots but we just didn’t make anything. But we finally slowed the ball down, we got shots in rhythm, we kept crashing the offensive boards and kept getting shot after shot. And they finally started going in. In the third quarter, it was all clicking,” said Kasun. “When the ball goes through the hoop, it’s just contagious. With our size and athletic ability, we have to be relentless. On the defensive end, we have to rebound. On the offensive end, we’re actually a pretty good team when we hit shots.”
Something the Vikings did not do much of following the first quarter.
They were unofficially 11-of-50 from the field, as Bentley led the way with 14 points — but was shut out for the final 15 minutes.
She scored nine of Vinton County’s dozen first-period points, as her three-pointer from the top of the key made it 12-5 at the 1:25 mark.
From that point on, the Lady Marauders outscored the Vikings 48-23.
Erin Jones made three threes for the Vikings for nine points.
The Lady Marauders will close out the regular season on Thursday night — when they host TVC-Ohio champion Alexander.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106