MEDINA — Canton GlenOak’s Ashley Rininger stands 6-foot-4 and uses every bit of it to her advantage.
Medina did everything it could Wednesday night to keep the Liberty University recruit away from basket and off the boards, but the 5-5, 5-7 and 5-8 players ultimately decided the game.
Some streaking mid-range shooting and a heavy dose of Rininger helped the Golden Eagles win the non-league game 58-52.
“Their post hurt us and to have three girls that can knock down shots from the perimeter, it’s tough,” Medina coach Chris Hassinger said. “We wanted to run some junk defenses against them, and we were unable to do it because they were shooting the ball so well.”
GlenOak (7-7) quickly erased an early six-point deficit with three quick buckets by reserve guard Katie Gaetano (10 points). The senior hit baseline jumpers in the soft spots of the Bees’ various defensive looks.
Combine that with a host of shots from guards Nancy Osborne (8 points, 5 assists) and Rebecca Braun (7 points, 4 assists) and the Golden Eagles knocked down key shots every time Medina (11-2) made a charge.
A lot of those perimeter looks were created by Rininger.
The senior center was a force in the middle, shooting 10-for-17 from the floor en route to a game-high 23 points to go along with 23 rebounds (seven offensive) and four blocks.
“Since I took the program over, she’s improved tremendously,” first-year GlenOak coach Krista Ross said. “She played her butt off tonight. But she’s got a great group around her, too, and she’s learned a lot this year in how to use those kids.”
The Golden Eagles got up by as much as six in the third and withstood a pair of Medina runs heading into the fourth before ballooning the advantage to as much as nine midway through the period.
Another Gaetano bucket made it 53-45 with 2:16 remaining. The Bees pulled within four on multiple occasions, but that was as close as they could get.
King and Pacholski finished with 12 points each, while Hiteshue chipped in 11. Taylor Burke added seven points and seven rebounds.
The Bees have little time to hang their heads with games against Strongsville, Nordonia and Stow — three teams with winning records — coming up on the schedule in the next 10 days.
“We haven’t been very good at running in transition (defensively) and it bit us in the butt,” Hassinger said. “We’re upset, but as I told the girls, this is kind of like how the tournaments going to be for us. There are no easy teams.”
Kelsey Shewbridge poured in 11 points to lead Medina’s junior varsity to a 51-15 victory. Teammates Casey Midlik and Caroline Pallini added eight points each for the winners.
Contact Dan Brown at email@example.com.