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Meigs Players running with the ball.

Marauders’ season ends after 64-54 loss to Fairfield Falcons

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POMEROY, OHIO(WOUB)- 8-seeded Meigs hosted 9-seeded Fairfield in the second round of the Division II tournament. Despite an outstanding first half from Cayden Gheen, the Falcons led by Caleb Schmelzer came back in the second half and ended the Marauders’ season with a score of 64-54. 


High-octane offense from both teams set the tone in the first quarter. Meigs especially came out red-hot from beyond the arc led by Gheen. He knocked down two back-to-back threes to give the Marauders an 8-2 lead early. Answering would be Fairfield senior Caleb Redding with a three of his own to keep the offense producing for the Falcons. However, Gheen was the quarter’s star with outstanding shooting from mid-range and three, compiling 16 points in total. His performance alone outscored Fairfield’s entire roster as the 1st quarter ended with Meigs leading 22-15. 


The offense did not slow down in the second quarter as Schmelzer gave the Falcons a boost early with a physical putback. Deep shooting continued to be a stalwart in the game. Gheen and Owen Tracy piled up three-pointers for the Marauders, while Redding kept the Falcons in the game with three deep balls in the quarter. Dustin Vance hit a go-ahead layup to extend Meigs’ lead at halftime at 38-30. 


Schmelzer began his takeover of the game in the second half, starting with an and-one that got the visiting Fairfield fans on their feet. This was the precursor to a Falcons charge that chipped away the Marauders’ lead. Schmelzer continued his dominance with another and-one down the stretch. Gheen was held scoreless in the third after notching 22 points in the first half. This led to Fairfield taking the lead at the end of the third 42-41. 


Meigs’ depleted six-man rotation left it all on the court as the final quarter commenced. Redding went into an astronomical tear, notching 20 points in the fourth quarter alone. His physicality and ability to draw fouls got him on the line numerous times, causing Vance to foul out. The Falcons would pull away due to Schmelzer’s efforts, winning the night 64-54. This spelled the end of a Meigs season littered with injuries and adversities at every corner. 


Despite the loss, Coach Jeremy Hill was not upset about his team’s effort.  


“I couldn’t be prouder of them.” Coach Hill said. “I asked them one question when we got back into the locker room, did you leave it all out on the floor, everyone said yes. A head coach cannot ask for more than that out of his ball club.”  


Senior Conlee Burnem spoke about his class of four and their importance to him. 


“I felt lonely out there (without his senior teammates), I have played my whole life with the three of them. I just got to get better with the teammates around me.” Burnem said. “They’re my best friends, we do everything together, I love those guys with all my heart.”