MEDINA — It looks like Tyler Peters, Danny Rymer, Noah Johanson and Cameron Roda are go-ing to get the last laugh.
The four seniors on the Medina boys basketball team took their lumps the two previous seasons, but they helped the Bees take a huge step toward their first Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division title — and first of any kind since 2002 — with a thoroughly impressive 75-40 victory over two-time defending champion Garfield Heights on Friday.
The win gives Medina (14-2, 6-1) a one-game lead over the Bulldogs (11-6, 5-2) and puts it two ahead of Brunswick and Strongsville with three to play. The Bees play at Strongsville, which handed them their lone conference loss earlier this season, on Tuesday.
“Early in the week, (the Bulldogs) were talking about how they breezed through the NOC the last two years,” said Johanson, who scored a career-high 11 points and pulled down five rebounds. “I think we took them by surprise a little bit. I don’t think they expected us to come out and beat them by 35.”
In their last two games, the Bees beat Medina County rival Brunswick and Garfield Heights by a combined 61 points. The first time through the Valley Division schedule, Medina needed overtime to beat the Blue Devils and downed the Bulldogs by six.
“What a great week,” Bees coach Jody Peters said. “This is beyond my wildest imagination. We definitely felt we could beat both teams, but I’d be lying to you if I said we were going to beat both teams by 25-plus points. We just put it together at both ends of the floor.”
There were plenty of great performances for Medina — 6-foot-8 sophomore center Kenny Kaminski hit three 3-pointers and finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds — but the night be-longed to the seniors, who combined for 41 points in their final home game.
Small forward Rymer not only put up 15 points, he combined with junior Justin Letts to hold Garfield Heights leading scorer Trey Lewis to nine on 3-of-15 shooting.
Point guard Tyler Peters, who didn’t score until the 2:36 mark of the third period, had just one field goal, but played a flawless floor game in finishing with 10 points — he was perfect on eight free throws — 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Shooting guard Roda added five points.
“It feels amazing,” Rymer said. “Obviously, the last two seasons haven’t been very good, but we finally put it all together. It feels great.”
The Bulldogs played without 6-6 big man Will Weeks (17 ppg, 9 rpg), who is out with a fractured foot, but his presence wouldn’t have changed the outcome of this one.
Garfield Heights was a woeful 5-of-31 from the field at halftime (.161), 8-of-45 through three peri-ods (.178) and finished the night 13-of-59 (.220).
Over their last two games, the Bees have given up an average of 39.5 points.
“We have taken our defense to another level,” Jody Peters said.
The offense was equally good, as Medina continually beat Garfield Heights’ pressure and got easy buckets on back-door cuts.
“We wanted to use their pressure against them,” Rymer said. “We knew they were going to come out and try to pick off some passes. It makes the back-door wide open.”
The Bees never trailed, jumping to a 7-0 lead en route to a 21-9 margin after the first period. Me-dina was up 33-18 at halftime and 51-28 after three quarters.
“What a great night for our seniors,” Jody Peters said. “They went through some tough times, but they never quit and never gave up.”
Mason Schreck had 12 points as Medina won the junior varsity game 41-40.
Billy Geschke had 16 points and Nick Fryer added 15, but the Bees dropped the freshman game 53-51 in overtime.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 75, Garfield Hts. 40
GARFIELD HTS. 9 9 10 12 — 40
MEDINA 21 12 18 24 — 75
Garfield Heights — Tony Farmer 1-2-4, Mike Davis 2-1-6, Jermaine Davis 0-0-0, Trey Lewis 3-1-9, Mike McQueen 0-0-0, William Dayse 1-0-2, Terrill Byrd 0-0-0, Kenny Simpson 0-0-0, Reggie Taylor 0-0-0, Ricardo Chatmon 1-0-2, John Jacobs 3-0-6, Marquis Jackson 1-7-9, Doran Phillips 1-0-2. TOTALS: 13-11-40.
Medina — Danny Rymer 6-3-15, Noah Johanson 3-5-11, Kenny Kaminski 9-2-23, Cameron Roda 2-1-5, Tyler Peters 1-8-10, Justin Letts 2-2-6, Matt Ellenbest 0-1-1, Jake Kinsey 2-0-4, Colin Bradley 0-0-0, John Hudak 0-0-0, Mason Schreck 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-22-75.
3-point goals — Lewis 2, M. Davis, Kaminski 3. Rebounds — Garfield Heights 25 (Farmer 12), Medina 38 (Kaminski, Peters 10). Assists — Garfield Hts. 4 (Byrd, Farmer 2), Medina 16 (Peters 7). Records — Garfield Hts. (11-6, 5-2), Medina (14-2, 6-1). Junior varsity — Medina 41, Garfield Hts. 40.