Updated Tue, Feb 25, 2014 3:54 am
A tournament run and the chance to play at the Convo came to a close last week for the boys of Meigs and Nelsonville-York, but a blank page in the final chapter of the regular season meant extra basketball for the Marauder and Buckeye seniors.
Bittersweet emotions and loyal TVC fans packed the Meigs High School gymnasium for the Marauders’ senior night on Thursday night in Pomeroy. Fuel from the neon-colored Marauders student section helped sway momentum toward the Marauder’s side early on, but Buckeye senior Josh Fayette spoiled the Marauder’s senior night as the Bucks outlasted the Marauders, 50-49.
AJ Kopec started the game with high spirits, as he hit the court for the starting lineups for the first time this season.
Kopec’s energy carried over to his teammates, as the pack of Marauder seniors played tenacious defense from the tipoff. The Marauders shut down Fayette early on, giving N-Y fits. The 5-foot-10 senior finished the first half with an uncharacteristic two points and three turnovers.
Positive energy quickly transferred over to the Buckeye bench, as Nelsonville-York made a dominant impression and ended the first quarter on a 10-3 run to close the first quarter with a 16-9 lead.
Damon Jones and his fellow senior Marauders didn’t throw up the white flag just yet.
Meigs shut N-Y down around the perimeter and forced the Buckeyes to drive the ball down low for layups, but the Buckeyes missed an astonishing nine shots down low. Team chemistry fell to an all-time low for the Buckeyes on defense, as Jones finished the half with 11 points, leading the Marauders into the locker room with a one-point deficit.
Fayette woke up in the third quarter and made his presence known from the first whistle.
The former Hardwood Heroes Hero of the Week strayed away from the perimeter and instead exploited a weakness in the Marauder defense and trudged his way to the hoop. His presence down low propelled him to score 12 of his 15 points in the third quarter.
Jones heated up from the 3-point line in the fourth quarter and tied the contest at 41 and once again at 45 with 3:06 remaining in the contest.
Jones missed a potential game-tying jump shot in the final seconds of the game before fouling the Buckeyes with five seconds left. The Marauders were able to score a field goal as the final buzzer rung but it was not enough to send the game to overtime.
Despite a devastating 52-47 overtime loss to Dawson-Bryant in the tournament, six Buckeye seniors ended their season on a high note.
Meigs will return to action for the final time on Thursday, Feb. 27 in Pomeroy for a make-up game with Ibi Watson and the Athens Bulldogs.
Athens came out on top in the last outing with the Marauders in a 63-31 victory in January. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.