July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Holidays mean hoops

Brian Dulik 

The Gazette 

MEDINA — The number of area schools willing to play non-league boys basketball games over Christmas break has dwindled to just a handful in recent years. 

During the same timeframe, however, a plethora of winter hoops tournaments have been created. 

In Medina coach Jody Peters’ mind, that made 2009 the perfect year to join the trend. 

The Bees will host their own holiday tourney on Dec. 22-23, welcoming longtime foe Brecksville and recent schedule additions Cleveland Rhodes and Cleveland John Adams. 

“It seems like it’s getting harder and harder to schedule games of Christmas break because so many teams are involved in two-day tournaments,” Peters said. “So we decided we would give it a shot and try to have our own. 

“Hopefully, we can make this an annual event.” 

With the introduction of the Medina tournament, the only Medina County schools that have not hosted similar events in the last 15 years are Cloverleaf and Wadsworth. 

Black River, Buckeye and Highland have come and gone as tourney sites in recent campaigns, but the Brunswick Holiday Classic continues to thrive. 

Blue Devils coach Joe Mackey has assembled another fine four-team field for the upcoming season, inviting Avon Lake, Copley and Solon to take part. 

“The tournament has become something that everyone in the program looks forward to each season,” Mackey said. “We’ve also been fortunate to have a number of very good schools ask to be a part of it. That makes the level of play very challenging, but also gives each of us a good test before really getting into the heart of conference play.” 


ON THE MOVE: Medina County Sports Hall of Fame coach Keith Sooy has accepted an invitation to join Tom Harrington’s staff at Highland. The duo spent the past four seasons together as assistants for Brunswick’s boys basketball team, developing a close bond that Harrington wanted to maintain as he takes over the Hornets. “I hate to lose a Hall of Fame coach, but I want what’s best for Tom as well,” Mackey said. “I have a great deal of respect for Keith and know it was a difficult decision for him. He does an excellent job of building positive relationships with every player, not just the go-to guys, which is why our guys took the news hard at first.” Sooy’s .700 career winning percentage at Medina is tops in county history, while his 170 victories rank sixth. 


EXPANSION: The Patriot Athletic Conference will expand to 12 teams in 2011-2012 with the addition of Fairview Park Fairview and Oberlin Firelands. Both schools currently play in the West Shore Conference, which will drop to six teams upon their exit (Avon, Bay Village Bay, Grafton Midview, North Ridgeville, Rocky River and Vermilion). The PAC, meanwhile, will be faced with realignment when the move occurs, though Black River and Buckeye are both expected to remain in the Stars Division. 


MOVING ON, UP: Longtime Highland boys basketball coach Fred Pollock retired from teaching at the end of the recent school year. Pollock led the Hornets to their lone regional tournament appearance in 1995 and is the fifth-winningest coach in county history with 172 victories. … Former Buckeye football coach Chris Medaglia has been promoted from the same position at Valley Forge to athletic director. The Patriots are a member of the Northeast Ohio Conference. 


Dulik may be reached at brisports@hotmail.com