MEDINA — For one night, Dev King made the Bee Hive her house.
The gritty senior center had the game of her career, leading Medina’s girls basketball team to an impressive 55-45 win over up-and-coming Solon on Wednesday.
King finished the Northeast Ohio Conference cross-division game with a career-high 23 points and 12 rebounds. The 6-footer also scored 15 of the Bees’ 28 second-half points to help fend off the pesky Comets (1-2).
“It was a great way to start the season,” said King, whose team improved to 2-0. “We knew it was a big game. Last year when we lost by one (55-54 in overtime) it took a toll on us, but this year we’re starting out in the right spot.”
Medina received nice nights from backup guard Kelsey Stolarski (11 points), forward Talyor Burke (5 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks), guard Liz Hiteshue (4 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists), guard Erin Pacholski (7 points, 4 assists) and excellent defense from Akilah Walton, but would have never secured victory without King.
Spurred by her trademark physicality, hustle and a stout up-and-under move in the post, King kept Solon at bay with buckets to give Medina leads of 44-35, 48-41 and 54-45. While she struggled at the free throw line (3-for-8), King also came up with six offensive rebounds and a key steal with 1:11 left as Medina clung to a two-possession lead.
All told, King scored eight of Medina’s final 11 points.
“I don’t think there are many big girls in the area that are as good as her,” Medina coach Chris Hassinger said as King exited the locker room to a roar from the Bees faithful. “She’s so strong. She’s on fire for basketball.”
So, too, were role players Stolarski and Walton, who each came up with big plays in big moments at opposite ends of the floor.
Stolarski, a senior who Hassinger “flat-out” told might not have been a part of the rotation to begin the year, earned her keep by accounting for seven straight Medina points to start the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, assist and layup.
Meanwhile, Walton, another senior backup, harassed Comets sharpshooter Jamie Gluesing (14 points, 6 rebounds) all over the floor when Solon ran every single play for her in late in the game.
Gluesing had 10 hard-earned points in the final eight minutes but Walton’s tenacity drew two illegal screen calls that proved crucial.
Solon shot just 8-for-24 in the second half.
“Defensively, we’re good. Real good,” said Hassinger, who also praised defensive efforts from Angela Tesny and Pacholski. “I don’t see many girls basketball teams play defense as well as us. I think that’s going to be our forte. Once we get our kinks worked out, we’re going to be one of the best defensive teams in the area. I really do.”
Suffice to say, it was a well-earned triumph for Medina, which showed marked improvement from last year’s 11-win season.
“That’s a very good win,” Hassinger said.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.