[Bryce Tinson | WOUB]

Vinton County survives late surge to win crucial conference game over Meigs

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MCARTHUR, Ohio (WOUB) — The highly anticipated matchup between the Meigs Marauders (9-5) and the Vinton County Vikings (10-5) saw a physical battle between two title contenders.

Following multiple delays and postponements the Marauders and Vikings were finally able to hit the hardwood in a heavyweight conference contest.

Vinton County came out of the gates swinging. Braylon Damron kicked off the scoring for the Vikings with three consecutive deep balls to set the tone. Damron dominated behind the arc for VC finishing 6/9 from 3 to help generate scoring in what was a defensive affair.

The Marauders responded with physical play down low. Coulter Cleland and company collected offensive rebounds and generated several short opportunities. Unfortunately for Meigs, little of those opportunities found the bottom of the net.

“We are not going to win very many ballgames scoring 50 points,” said Meigs Head Coach Jeremy Hill about the offensive struggles. “The difference maker tonight was that we shot extremely poorly from beyond the arc and Vinton County knocked down a lot of them. … We just didn’t make shots like we normally do.”

A source for the sore shooting came from the Marauders complacency against the 2-3 zone. Meigs settled for outside looks and failed to convert, shooting just 3/23 from downtown compared to VC’s 9/16 clip.

Despite the shooting struggles, the Marauders found themselves in a battle. Vinton County faced a reinvigorated Meigs team that brought pressure with a full court 1-2-2 press. The Vikings let the pressure get the best of them and were forced into poor decisions.

In the 3rd quarter, the lead was cut down to just four points. However, the Vikings responded with a devastating counter. VC went on a 5-0 run in the final minute of the quarter, capped off by a Meigs foul at the buzzer to allow 3 free throws for Vinton County.

“We were happy with where we were being only down four,” said Coach Hill. “But you make those crucial mistakes, and you are down nine and then you have to fight all over again.”

The late run helped to slow the Vikings down and allowed them to pull away. Vinton County would cruise to a massive 61-50 victory. With the win, VC now controls their own destiny in the TVC-Ohio race with sole possession of 1st place.

“There are just no nights off in this league,” said Vinton County Head Coach Matt Combs following the victory. “It’s a league full of upsets and it’s a league full of parody. … If you come in flat, in this league, you are going to get beat. Hopefully our kids understand that.”

Coach Hill and the Marauders are also looking to the future in conference play.

“They have to come back to our place,” said Coach Hill about a rematch with the Vikings. “We look forward to that moment. I told the kids that our goals are not shattered. They [Vinton County] have one league loss and we [Meigs] have two and they still have to come back to us.”

The rematch is scheduled to tip on February 7th at 7:30 p.m. in Pomeroy