Updated Mon, Dec 2, 2013 1:57 pm
The Marietta Pioneers ended the Thanksgiving holiday as champions of the 29th annual Jim Meagle Turkey Shoot, as they beat Ohio Valley University, 79-56, on their home floor.
“It’s an awesome feeling to win the tournament,” senior Paige Lamb said. “It was a complete team effort, and it feels great to be able to pull out a couple wins on our home floor and win it all. It gives us a big boost going into league play this week.”
“I am excited and proud of our team to win the tournament at home,” Marietta head coach Stacia Shrider said. “Jim Meagle is a big supporter of our team, and he was there all week watching. This tournament definitely boots our confidence going into conference play this week.”
The two-day tournament included Mount St. Joseph, Kenyon College and the Ohio Valley University Fighting Scotties.
After an easy 82-58 victory over Mount St. Joe in the first round, the Lady Pioneers found themselves in the title game. Ohio Valley beat Kenyon College in a 70-67 thriller.
The Pioneers started the title game by taking it to the Scotties. The Pioneers extended their lead to 21 points in the first half, 35-14. However, Ohio Valley ended the first half on a 10-2 run and both teams went into the locker room with Marietta leading, 37-24.
On Marietta’s first possession, senior Tori Dixon hit a historic 3-pointer. Dixon’s early three broke Marietta’s record for career 3-pointers.
“It’s a very exciting feeling that I couldn’t have accomplished without the awesome teammates, coaches and family that I have,” Dixon said. “I am very lucky to be surrounded by so many people that give me the confidence every time I step on the floor.”
A 3-pointer from Ohio Valley’s Meghan Miller with 13:08 left in the second half cut Marietta’s lead to 60-51. But the Lady Pioneers stifled any possibility of a comeback and scored the next 14 points and pushed their lead to 74-51.
Junior Candice Alexander recorded her second double-double of the season and was named the Lisa Wagner Most Valuable Player in the tournament.
Lamb and freshman Mackenzie Kiser were named to the All-Tournament team for their play in both games.
With six games under their belt, Shrider and the Pioneers know practice is key.
“Our practices have been up and down, but I keep telling the girls we want to be playing our best basketball in February,” Shrider said. “Lamb is our vocal leader and Alexander leads by example. We have depth on our team and it makes everyone competitive in practice.”
“We have had some real good practice lately and they have helped us improve during the games,” Dixon said. “We have had leaders step up. Paige is the most energetic person on the team and she keeps everyone in good spirits. Candice Alexander and Heather Booth are stepping up and are helping everyone get through hard practices.”
Marietta opens Ohio Athletic Conference play at home on Wednesday, Dec. 4, against Otterbein University. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Ban Johnson Arena.