Hardwood Heroes

Our Ayden Crowley breaks down the matchup between the Meigs Marauders and Chesapeake Panthers on February 21st, 2023

Meigs Marauders season comes to a close with lose to Chesapeake

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After a 26 point loss to the Chesapeake Panthers at home in December, the Meigs Marauders traveled to the Panther’s place seeking revenge and a chance to advance.  

When these two Southeastern opponents squared off in the early stages of the season, it was more of a beatdown than a game. The 70-44 loss was demoralizing, but the Marauders were missing a key piece of the puzzle: star guard Braylon Harrison. Round two between them showed how vital the absence of Harrison was in their first matchup.  

Buckets were few and far between in the first half. Both teams’ strengths were the others’ weaknesses. Marauder guards Braylon Harrison and Cayden Gheen towered over the Panthers guards. On the contrary, Dustin Vance and Brody Butcher were no match for the physicality and size of the Chesapeake forwards. Albeit undersized in the backcourt, they plowed through the Marauders defense in the first half. Jeremy Hill’s boys had no answer for the duo’s shifty ball handling and trailed 14-7 after the first eight minutes.  

Quarter two was no different, if not worse. The Panther half court press only unveiled Meigs’ struggles even more. Poor shot selection and costly turnovers plagued Meigs, especially in the paint. On the last possession Chesapeake’s efficient ball movement led to a three-point buzzer beater and gave them a comfortable 31-16 lead. A bleak first half did not give the Marauder faithful much optimism for a comeback, yet they were pleasantly surprised.  

Something sparked in the Marauders. Perhaps the realization this was their last chance to prove they were, as Jeremey Hill says, “not a seven win ball club.” All of a sudden shots were falling and the penetrative Panther offense halted to a stop.  

Sophomore sharpshooting guard Cayden Gheen hit a few, along with Dustin Vance scooping up seemingly every rebound in his sight. The most impressive aspect of their comeback was their lockdown defense. In total Meigs outscored Chesapeake 27-14 in the second half, a majority of those from the charity stripe. With momentum on their side, they cut the deficit to nine at 36-27 going to the 4th.  

The first few minutes of the fourth were bully ball. Both teams exchanged fouls and tension was building. The last two minutes were electric. Down by six and in crucial need of a bucket, an unlikely hero in senior center Brody Butcher pulled up from three and drained it, making it a one possession game. A couple seconds later Dustin Vance grabbed an offensive rebound and put up another two. In the final timeout Jeremey Hill drew up a play for Braydon Harrison, but his shot hit the backboard. It was too little too late. The Marauders barely fell short, losing 45-43 in a heart breaker.  

Head coach Jeremy Hill spoke on senior Brody Butcher, saying,  

 “He did a lot of things for us here. He didn’t quit. He laid out everything that we asked for him.”  

The Marauder season is officially over, but this team has a lot of players returning. Juniors Conlee Burnham, Dustin Vance, and Braylon Harrison as well as sophomore Cayden Gheen. When the TVC returns next season, do not count out the Meigs Marauders.