By Jim Hunter
GROVE CITY —
Farrell: check. Franklin: check. Grove City: a major hiccup.
After an impressive 3-0 week with wins over Region 5 contenders Farrell and Franklin, Meadville lowered itself Tuesday night by getting upset by last-place Grove City, 42-41 on the Eagles’ hardwood.
The devastating setback dropped the Bulldogs (15-6, 10-5) into a second-place tie with Farrell (13-8, 10-5) and Sharon (12-9, 10-5). Hickory leads with a 13-1 mark.
MASH closes its regular season Friday at home against Oil City, which defeated the Bulldogs earlier in the season, 62-52.
Obviously, a must-win game for the ’Dogs.
Against Grove City (5-16, 3-13), Meadville played to its competition as the Bulldogs struggled through possibly their worst game of the season.
Shooting only 36 percent (18-for-50) and getting outrebounded and outhustled, Meadville allowed a 24-16 halftime lead slip away in the second half.
The upstart Eagles made an immediate move in the third quarter.
Crashing the offensive glass and beating the Bulldogs down the court, GC opened the third stanza with an 11-2 run to grab a 27-26 lead with 3:58 remaining on the clock.
The Bulldogs responded with six unanswered points to re-take the lead, 32-27. Malik Anderson sank a 15-footer and Trevor Clune and Donte Hollingsworth scored on steals.
The ’Dogs getting in the groove finally? Not quite.
Getting free in the left-wing area, the Eagles’ Foster Reznor bombed in a 3-pointer to tie the game at 34-34 with 5:02 left in the game.
With 1:08 left in the game, Clune scored on a drive to give the Bulldogs a 41-38 lead. It was MASH’s last hoo-rah.
After Matt Thrasher went baseline for a hoop, Grove City’s pressure defense forced Meadville into a turnover.
Aggressively driving down the lane, Jared Graham scored to give the Eagles a 42-41 lead with 27 seconds left in the game.
With no timeouts left, MASH point guard Zak Price dribbled the ball upcourt and shot a 15-footer, but missed. The errant shot went out of bounds after hitting a Grove City defender — giving the Bulldogs one more shot with eight ticks on the scoreboard.
Clune was called for a charge ... end of game.
Hollingsworth and Price led Meadville with 10 points apiece. Anderson and Clune each netted eight.
Reznor and Danny Torok led Grove City with 11 points apiece.