THE PLAINS, Ohio — Momentum has a funny way of running out at the right time.
The Meigs boys basketball team, which had lost five of its last six games, defeated Federal Hocking, which was on a four-game winning streak, by a count of 57-51 in the sectional final at Charles McAfee Gymnasium on the campus of Athens High School Saturday night.
The Marauders (10-11) jumped out to an early lead with a 7-0 run but Federal Hocking (17-6) answered with 5-to-3 run that cut the lead to five. Meigs ended the first period with five unanswered points, that put the lead at 15-5.
The second stanza was back and forth most of the way, the Lancers started with a 6-to-3 run, Meigs answered with a 6-to-1 spurt and FHHS closed the half on a 7-4 run that cut the MHS lead to nine at halftime.
The Marauders allowed just one field goal in the third period, while out scoring Federal Hocking 11-to-9 in the quarter, making the advantage 11 with eight minutes remaining.
The Lancers rallied back to pull within three points of Meigs with just under two minutes remaining in regulation but MHS finished the game with a 7-to-4 run, that put the cap on the 57-51 sectional title.
“Tonight personified what we’re building at Meigs basketball right now,” said first year Marauders coach David Kight. “The way we play is just hard-nose for 32 minutes of basketball, we’re not going to quit, cave in or fold, we’re going to play through it and come out successful”
The Marauders were led by freshman Kaileb Sheets with 17 points and senior Dillon Boyer with 16. Treay McKinney chipped in with 12 points, including the Marauders only two three-pointers. Dustin Ulbrich marked six points, Jordan Hutton added four, while Ty Phelps finished with two points, rounding out the MHS total.
Phelps led the rebounding for Meigs with 12 boards, followed by Cody Stewart with five. Boyer and Ulbrich each had four rebounds. Phelps and Boyer led the Marauders in assists with five, while Sheets with three steals and Stewart with two blocks led the MHS defense.
Meigs shot 16-of-43 (37.2 percent) from the field, including 2-of-11 (18.1 percent) from beyond the arc. MHS was 19-of-31 (61.3 percent) from the free throw line, including 12-of-22 (54.4 percent) in the fourth period. As a team the Marauders 35 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and six blocked shots. Meigs committed 10 turnovers and 20 fouls in the game. Stewart was the lone Marauder to foul out.
The Lancers never led in the game and, aside from 0-0, the game was never tied. 13 points near the start of the fourth period was the Marauders biggest lead in the game.
“I thought Meigs beat us every which way they could beat us,” Federal Hocking coach Howie Caldwell said. “It seemed like we were running up hill the whole entire night and it was about like a marathon runner running 26 miles, we were exhausted. We came out very tenative and if you play like that in the tournament you’re not going to win.My hat’s off to Meigs, they did everything that they could do to beat us and they did beat us.”
The Lancers were led by Shawn Parsons with 11 points and Alfy Nichols with 10. Nichols and Parsons each made one three-pointer for Federal Hocking. Ivan Santiago and Terrance Mayle each marked eight points, Corey Rex finished with four, while Peyton Seel added three. Max Carney, Pete Crum and Cliff Bonner each finished with two points in the game.
Mayle led Federal Hocking on the boards with 10 rebounds, followed by Parsons and Rex with six each. Parsons finished with a game-high five assists, followed by Nichols with three. Parsons also led the FHHS defense with a pair of steals, while Bonner had the lone Lancer rejection.
Federal Hocking was 15-of-54 (27.8 percent) on shots from the field, including 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) from three-point range. The Lancers were 19-of-29 (65.5 percent) from the free throw line in the loss. As a team FHHS had 41 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and one block. Federal Hocking committed 11 turnovers and 22 fouls in the game. Nichols, Parsons and Santiago all fouled out for FHHS.
The Marauders, who finished 2-19 last season were eliminated by Wellston in last season’s sectional final.
“They believe now that they belong there, they’ve gotten over the mind set that we’re not “just Meigs”, we are Meigs,” said Kight. “I have a great group of boys, I have a great coaching staff, it’s a dream situation and all the credit goes to them. They’re the ones who put in the hard work, got the stops and the buckets.”
This marks the fifth sectional title in Meigs, the last came in 2011. The Marauders will face Oak Hill on Saturday at 1:45 p.m. at the Convocation Center on the campus of Ohio University. The Oaks come in with a 19-4 record on the season. Oak Hill has not won a sectional title since 2009 when the Oaks were a Division IV school. OHHS won the state title that season.
“I’ll find out everything I can about Oak Hill over the next couple days,” Kight said. “I know that Norm Pearson is the head coach and that’s about all I know right now.”
The Lancers are eliminated at the sectional final for the second straight year but they did win the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division this season.