MEDINA — This story — actually, it’s two different stories — is about second chances.
Strongsville defeated Medina 70-62 Tuesday night in Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division boys basketball action largely because 6-foot-6, 240-pound center Ray Hamilton had his way on the offensive glass.
The Bees (8-9, 4-4), meanwhile, lost for the eighth time in their last 10 games and will have to wait for the Midview Division I Sectional/District for a second chance to salvage their season.
“It’s important we finish strong in the last three games,” said Medina coach Jody Peters, whose team closes the regular season against Elyria, Hoban and Lakewood before opening tournament play against Elyria on March 2. “I’m sure our confidence is wavering.
“We just haven’t done enough to win close games. Hopefully, it causes us to ask ourselves what more we could be doing.”
The Bees weren’t bad against the Mustangs (13-5, 6-2), they just weren’t good enough.
Strongsville got 24 points from sharpshooter G. Gill, 17 points and eight rebounds from Iowa basketball recruit Aaron White and 15 points and 14 rebounds from Iowa football recruit Hamilton, who got six of his seven field goals on offensive rebounds.
“They’re really hard to guard,” Peters said. “They have two very potent offensive weapons in Gill and White that can go make shots. Hamilton has a one-track mentality: He’s going to go after every stinkin’ offensive rebound he can get. He really hurt us on the boards.”
Medina got a game-high 28 points and eight boards from Michigan State recruit Kenny Kaminski, who kept his team in the game with 11 points in the first 5:57 of the fourth period, but no one else scored in double figures.
Mason Schreck had nine points and 10 boards and Jake Kinsey had nine points after missing the previous four games with a calf injury, but the Bees weren’t able to get over the hump against the Mustangs, who went on a 13-0 run that spanned the second and third periods.
“We don’t have the firepower to score points in bunches,” Peters said. “If we can keep it close, we’ll give ourselves a chance down the stretch.”
The Bees had that chance until one pivotal sequence. With Medina down 61-57, Kaminski had a 3-pointer go in and out, with Strongsville’s 6-7 White tipping the rebound to a teammate beyond the arc. Kyle Maehan then hit a 3-pointer at the other end, and instead of being within one, the Bees were down seven.
Kaminski drained a 25-footer to get Medina back within four, but the Mustangs scored the next six points to put the game out of reach.
“I know we can win,” Peters said. “I know we can beat good people on our schedule. We just have to have a little more moxie, a little more want-to, when it comes to making hustle plays.”
Medina lost the junior varsity game 46-34 despite eight points from Mike Ellenbest.
l The Bees fell 46-45 in overtime in the freshman game. A.J. Hoptry (11), Zach Machovina (11) and Michael Kaminski (10) scored in double figures for Medina.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.