BYESVILLE — They never come easy.

That’s often been the feeling of veteran Meadowbrook High’s Lou "Scooter" Tolzda throughout his long and successful coaching career and Friday night was no exception as the Colts received a surprisingly stern test from visiting River View before prevailing by a 54-42 count.

The win not only kept the Colts on the heels of East Central Ohio League-leading Zanesville, it meant varsity coaching victory No. 400 for Tolzda with his total including time at all three Monroe County schools — Beallsville, River and Monroe Central.

"It was never easy at Beallsville," said Tolzda after surviving the Black Bears’ upset bid and getting his 38th win at MHS. "I had to fight for everything there and that’s where I got most of them. My kids played hard and I expected that out of them, and that’s what I want from these guys.

"It’s a nice milestone," he added. "There are a lot of memories with that, and it’s hard to believe sometimes I’ve been doing this that long."

While it was Tolzda’s night in the end, it may not have turned out that way if not for yet another outstanding performance by senior Trey Singleton. The talented guard poured in 34 points and made it a "double-double" by collecting 10 rebounds and adding four steals.

"Thank goodness he has his A-game tonight," Tolzda said of Singleton, "because if not, we could have lost that game. We’ve got to get contributions from more of the guys than we’re getting."

Meadowbrook (14-5, 11-2 ECOL) forced River View into seven first quarter turnovers but led by only one, 15-14, at the break. Singleton started strong with a 10-point quarter while senior Keith Stewart tallied five for the Bears.

Another 10-point period by Singleton coupled with a 2-of-13 shooting effort by River View (4-16, 1-11 ECOL) enabled the Colts to open a little breathing room at the half, 31-19. Junior Chase Whitehair led the Bears this time with five tallies.

Five more from Whitehair and four each by Stewart and junior Will Anderson allowed the visitors to gain a 15-8 edge in the third chapter and get back into it at 39-34 as the Colts managed to hit just 2-of-10 shots in the quarter. Singleton continued to shine with seven of his team’s eight markers.

Meadowbrook kept River View at arm’s length throughout the fourth quarter, however, never letting the margin dip below six points to secure the victory.

"I don’t think we played bad, and they played well so give them credit," said Coach Tolzda. "I look down our bench and I see no enthusiasm from me all the way down the bench to the manager and that’s frustrating. I don’t know if we thought we were going to walk in and win or what...maybe I just expect more of them."

Providing the only real support to Singleton was junior Davis Black who collected 10 points and eight rebounds. 

Stewart led River View with 16 tallies and nine boards while Whitehair closed with 13 markers and five rebounds.

MHS was 20-of-38 from the field and 11-of-19 at the free throw line while River View hit 15-of-43 action shots and 9-of-15 at the charity stripe. The Colts had a narrow 28-26 rebounding edge and each side was charted with 15 turnovers.

At halftime, MHS honored its 1988 girls’ basketball team which became the school’s first-ever state tournament team, falling to Akron Hoban (46-42) in the championship game. 

Meadowbrook - a 59-38 winner in the earlier meeting - now leads the all-time series with River View, 26-25.

NEXT — Meadowbrook hosts Oak Glen in the Class 4A semifinals of the OVAC Wheeling Hospital Boys Basketball Tournament on Tuesday, with JV action at 6 p.m.