McARTHUR, Ohio — For a while anyway on Monday night, the Meigs Lady Marauders made it difficult on the Vinton County Lady Vikings.
However, for the hosts, it was Jalen Hale to the rescue.
The six-foot senior standout Hale poured in 24 points, and wreaked havoc for the Marauders on the defensive end, in leading the Lady Vikings to a 52-36 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division girls basketball win at Vinton County High School.
The Lady Vikings complete the season sweep of the Marauders, which fell to 8-10 overall — and 3-7 in the TVC-Ohio.
Vinton County climbed to 13-4, and improved to 7-2 in the division, remaining a full game-and-a-half behind league leader Nelsonville-York (9-1 TVC-Ohio).
Monday’s match-up was actually the second time that Meigs made the talented Vikings work hard for the win.
And, in similar fashion.
In their initial meeting this season at Meigs High School, the Marauders managed to hang right with the Maroon and White for three quarters — until the Vikings went on a 15-0 run in the final 6:22.
The end result: Vinton County hung on for a 56-51 win.
In the rematch, the Lady Vikings only led 23-21 at halftime, but a 17-9 third-period output put Vinton County up 40-30, as the lead eventually swelled to as large as 52-34 with a minute and 15 seconds to play.
The Vinton County combination of Hale and fellow senior standout Michaela Puckett proved to be too much for the young Marauders.
Hale had nine total field goals, including three three-pointers and 3-of-6 free throws for almost half of the Vikings’ points.
Puckett posted a dozen points — on five field goals and 2-of-2 free throws.
The Vikings began to put some separation in the third frame, when Hale hit two free throws with a minute-and-a-half gone by.
Puckett powered for a pair of baskets by the four-minute mark, and the Vikings had their largest advantage at that point at 29-21.
The Marauders went scoreless in the third until Alli Hatfield had a field goal at the 3:44 mark, but 40 seconds later, Vinton County’s Erin Jones canned a corner three-ball to make it 32-23.
Meigs mustered to cut the deficit to 32-28 on buckets by Madison Hendricks and Devin Humphreys, but Puckett’s pair of free throws, a Puckett putback, and a Hale inside score finally pushed the gap to double figures.
Hale’s final three — from the corner with 5:40 remaining — made it a 43-31 contest, as Meigs did not draw any closer.
The Maroon and Gold shot well from inside the arc, making 9-of-21 for 43-percent.
But besides Hendricks’ three threes en route to a team-high 11 points, the Marauders only made one other triple on 18 total tries.
That was a trifecta by freshman Marissa Noble, with 1:11 remaining in the second quarter, and which cut a 21-15 Meigs deficit in half.
Hendricks hit her first trey with 2:45 gone by to give Meigs a 3-0 edge, but Vinton County — spearheaded by Hale —scored nine unanswered and took the first of seven six-point leads (9-3, 14-8, 21-15, 27-21, 29-23, 32-26 and 34-28).
Vinton County never trailed for the final 28 minutes and 40 seconds.
Hale, who had several blocked shots in the game, also impacted the battle with her length near the top of the key.
Humphreys had three field goals and 1-of-2 free throws for seven points, while freshman Kassidy Betzing chipped in six on a field goal and 4-of-6 free throws.
Hatfield finished with two field goals, while Sarah Dowell and Sadie Fox had one basket apiece — and Madison Fields had a foul shot.
Hannah Radabaugh (three field goals and a free throw) and Darian Radabaugh (two field goals) combined for a dozen VC points —with Hannah scoring seven and Darian adding five.
Samy Thompson made a foul shot to round out the scoring for the Vikings.
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Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106