June 25, 2016

Mostly sunny

Girls basketball: Red-hot Bees take on powerhouse Grizzlies

WADSWORTH — Medina and Wadsworth’s girls basketball team share many similarities.

Both squads like to push the ball in transition and keep the tempo up with a variety o pressure defenses. Both go deep into the bench to keep everything fresh and maintain a scoring balance. Both have stretch power forwards who can play inside-out to keep opponents off balance.

Rachel Goddard will handle the ball for the Grizzlies. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY JUDD SMERGLIA)

The question for the Grizzlies and Bees is which team will out-execute the other, something that will be answered tonight when the two teams collide in a non-conference game for Medina County bragging rights at Wadsworth.

“They play a lot like us: up-tempo, they press a lot more and create turnovers to try and play faster,” Grizzlies coach Andrew Booth said. “(Medina) Coach (Chris) Hassinger has done a good job of adapting to his personnel.”

The Bees are off to a 7-1 start and have played near-perfect basketball since an opening-night loss to Massillon, beating the likes of Elyria and North Royalton while utilizing a system that has made Wadsworth (6-2) the standard when it comes to area girls basketball.

It makes tonight’s match up something that a youth Medina squad will use as a measuring stick to gauge its progress heading into second half of the season.

“They are one of the top teams in Northeast Ohio,” Hassinger said. “They’re really good and we respect them a lot. We want to come out and play good ‘D’ and be in the game down the stretch.”

Thanks to a balanced effort, led by veteran guard Erin Pacholski and power forward Sarah Kinch, the Bees have been the hottest team in the county since that 57-45 loss at Massillon late last month.

Which poses the question of whether or not Medina sticks with the style that has helped it win seven straight games or do the Bees try and slow the game to crawl to limit the Grizzlies possessions and keep the game manageable.

Hassinger isn’t about to give much away about his team’s plan.

“We need to limit our turnovers and make it into a half-court game as much as possible,” Hassinger said. “If they beat us by shooting the three, it gives us a chance. They’re so dangerous getting steals and finishing in transition that we have to limit them.”

While the Bees are the relative newcomer among area girls basketball powers, Wadsworth has been the team that everyone strives to be like.

With Jessie Gearhart, Kara Long and Rachel Goddard all averaging double figures this season, Booth’s team hasn’t lost a beat from a team that despite a pair of tough losses to reigning Division I state champion Twinsburg and fellow D-I contender Midpark has been impressive in their six wins in Suburban League play.

Regardless of their 0-2 non-conference record, the Grizzlies are as tough on their home floor and know that whatever Medina tries to do, it should be a great midseason game.

“We’ve seen them a few times and what I expect from them is that they’ll mix it up,” Booth said. “They’re not going to go away from what has made them successful, but they may try and slow us down. It should be an interesting game, especially since they’re playing so well.

“It should be a fun game to watch: up-and-down a little bit and very entertaining.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.


WHAT: Medina (7-1) at Wadsworth (6-2)
WHEN: 7:15
WHERE: Wadsworth High School