June 26, 2016

Partly sunny

Bees will face plenty of questions

The Medina boys basketball team lost its top two scorers from a year ago, moved into a much tougher league and has only two seniors on its roster.

Other than that, coach Jody Peters has no concerns at all.

“Our lack of experience is obviously a big question mark,” Peters said. “And we don’t have a whole lot of overall size and strength.”

The Bees, who finished 10-11 overall and 6-8 in the Pioneer Conference last season, lost first-team All-Gazette pick Dillon McBride (15.7 ppg) and second-team choice Will Houghtaling (11.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg) to graduation.

Medina also moved into the rugged Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division, where Garfield Heights and Strongsville are loaded and Brunswick, Lakewood and Elyria should all be solid.

“When you look at all the factors involved, we’re going into this season trying to get better every day in practice and learn how to compete,” Peters said. “We expect to not only be in games, but have a chance to win them.”

Two rugged 6-foot-2 seniors who played football together, close friends Richard Sumlin and Corey Morse, will anchor the front line. They are Medina’s only lettermen.

Zach Peters, a 6-3 junior, will likely start at small forward, with 5-8 sophomore Tyler Peters and 6-1 junior Mike Rodgers in the backcourt.

The top reserves will be 5-10 sophomore Danny Rymer, 6-0 junior Nate Schaefer, 6-1 sophomore Clay Febus and 6-3 freshman Matt Ellenbest, with 6-4 junior Josh Poloha and 6-5 junior Chris Zurowski also slated to see varsity action.

“We’ve got our two big hosses in (Morse and Sumlin) and a bunch of guards and small forwards who are young kids,” Jody Peters said.

“We’re going to have to do it by committee. It’s going to be one of those things where hopefully we have five, six guys between eight and 12 points. I don’t see us putting up 70 points. We can’t get into a rat race kind of game because we don’t have the firepower or physical strength to really go out there and just overpower you.”

With no real proven scorer, the Bees will have to rely on the powerful Sumlin and Morse to get a few easy hoops inside while hoping a sophomore, Tyler Peters, can handle major minutes at the point guard position.

“I’ve seen (Sumlin and Morse) have a different persona in regards to how they’re handling themselves and the leadership of the team,” Jody Peters said. “They have a greater confidence. They realize what a responsibility they have as the only two seniors.”

On the floor, however, it will be Tyler Peters, one of Jody Peters’ two sons on the team, who will have to run the show for the Bees.

“When you’re going up against teams that on average are going to be bigger and stronger, you really have to learn to play smart,” Jody Peters said. “You’ve got to learn how to slow the tempo and make it more of a ball-control game.

“If we seriously want to have chances to win, we need to keep the scoring down in the 50s. We have to know who we are.”

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.