TWINSBURG — Pressure can do a lot to a basketball team, and Cloverleaf’s girls found that out first-hand Tuesday.
Medina slowly dismantled the Colts with a heavy dose of defense, leading to a 46-32 victory at Twinsburg’s Fight or Flight Invitational.
After a first half that was anything but perfect for the Bees (7-1) in terms of shooting the ball, Medina turned the game around near the end of the first half with a variety of trapping defenses.
Making matters worse for the Colts, they were playing without senior point guard Adrea Baughman (illness).
“First half, it was all individual,” Bees coach Chris Hassinger said of his team’s defense. “We were getting good pressure on the ball, but no one was jumping over to help and everyone was doing everything by themselves.
“In the third quarter, we starting jumping towards the basketball and getting some switches and jumping the ball a little bit and that led to turnovers.”
Medina’s pressure forced the Colts into 28 turnovers, 15 via steals that turned a one-possession game with under 2 minutes to go in the second quarter into an easy win.
After cutting the deficit in the second to 14-13 on a 3-pointer by Haley Ploucha, Cloverleaf (4-7) watched Medina go on an 18-2 run.
“We were a little light in ball handlers tonight with Adrea out, so once our starters got a little tired it became a little bit easy for them,” Colts coach John Carmigiano said. “(Medina) likes to play defense with their hands on you, so it makes it tough at times, and our kids struggle under pressure situations like that. We just need to learn how to play through that a little bit more.”
Early on, it looked as if Cloverleaf had figured out how to stop the Bees with a 3-2 zone defense that forced Medina into a 1-of-16 shooting performance in the opening quarter, with 10 attempts coming from the outside.
It wasn’t until late in the half that Medina started attacking the basket with drives from Sarah Kinch (10 points, 7 rebounds) and Erin Pacholski (8 points, 4 steals) that made it easier for Medina shooters.
“We were really pleased in getting the victory,” said Hassinger, whose team led by as much as 25 early in the fourth. “Give Cloverleaf some credit. They had us struggling in the first half, but we were able to fight through.”
Along with Pacholski’s four steals, Pari Yost had five swipes. Medina, which has just two seniors, also received solid bench production as Faith Constance and Casey Midlik combined for 11 points to help Medina win its seventh straight game.
“I’m very pleased,” Hassinger said. “To be 7-1 right now, these kids have really done a lot in the summer and in the first half of this season and we’ve progressively gotten better. We have some little goals that we’re trying to fine-tune and it seems like when we do those things, we’ve had some success.”
Katie Simpson and Ploucha led the Colts with 10 points apiece, while Shelby Dearth added seven. Simpson also had seven rebounds in a loss that snapped a two-game win streak.
Sophomore Madi Tata had 11 points as Medina’s junior varsity edged Cloverleaf 28-27. Rachel Gokey chipped in eight points to lead the Colts.
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.