July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Boys basketball notes: Bees gearing up for rugged five days

Medina’s newfound run-and-gun offense will be under the microscope as the calendar year winds down.

The first test for the Bees (1-1, 0-0), who are running more than ever under second-year coach Anthony Stacey, is tonight against high-octane Garfield Heights, followed by defending regional qualifier Elyria (Saturday) and Northeast Ohio’s most powerful offense, Mentor, on Tuesday.

Anthony Stacey

If there’s such a thing as an early season measuring stick, this is it.

“We try to take it one game at a time and concentrate on us getting better every day,” Stacey said. “We’re concentrating on Garfield for (tonight), and after the Garfield game we’ll concentrate on our next game.

“I’m not really looking ahead. We haven’t gone over a scouting report on Elyria or Mentor.”

Tonight’s game in particular is intriguing, as the Bulldogs (3-1) are still putting up big numbers despite having their former star player, Tony Farmer, sent to prison for three years after kidnapping and assaulting his ex-girlfriend in May.

Guard Willie Jackson has filled Farmer’s scoring void with 17.0 per game. The rest of the team is balanced, though forward Al Burge, guard Robert Hurst and 3-point gunner Richard Parker have the ability to score in bunches.

Medina counters with All-Ohio small forward Billy Geshke, point guard Logan Winkler, athletic defender Dillon Wiesler and 6-9 center John Teske.

“A lot depends on how we play,” Stacey said. “We have to take care of the ball. They play up-tempo, too, so I’m sure it won’t be a slow-paced game.”

Though Medina is taking the age-old one-game-at-a-time-approach, it will learn a lot about where it stands considering Mentor’s record-breaking offense and Elyria’s two-pronged attack of West Liberty recruit Kody Bender (23.3 ppg) and Isaiah Walton (23.0) await.

“The great thing about our league is every night you get a chance to play someone special,” Stacey said. “Shaker (Heights) coming into the league makes it that much stronger. We’re excited and can’t wait.”

Black River (0-4, 0-2)

The Pirates will be aiming to avoid their first 0-5 start since 2006 tonight against Columbia. The Raiders average 63.5 points per game and are led by forwards Zach Stopper (16.0 pgg) and Jacob Simon (14.3).

Brunswick (4-2, 0-1)

Tuesday’s 79-38 win over Parma was the Blue Devils’ most lopsided since downing Solon 89-35 on Jan. 19, 2008, when Joe Puch set a school record with eight 3-pointers.

Buckeye (2-1, 1-1)

The Bucks will be gunning for their first 3-1 start since 2005 tonight against Lutheran West (1-3, 0-2), which has lost its last two games by a combined four points.

l Backup center Chris Vogt (oblique) will miss his third straight game tonight. He may return Tuesday at Wellington.

l Senior Matt Cox is off to a nice start with 35 points in three games. The starting power forward averaged 2.9 points in 19 games last season.

Cloverleaf (1-3, 0-2)

Senior forward Robby Buckwald, who is fourth in the county with a 14.0 scoring average, is questionable for tonight’s game at Revere with a sprained ankle, while backup center Tom Wangler (illness) is out as the Colts have been battling a team-wide flu bug.

l Cloverleaf has a good chance to snap a 27-game Suburban League losing streak. The Minutemen are averaging just 43.6 points and are fresh off a 72-53 loss to Highland, which was without All-Gazette forward Brogan Scott. Zack Lalkowski (10.3 pgg) and Jordan Holtkamp (9.0) lead Revere in scoring.

Highland (2-2, 1-1)

Sophomores in the Suburban League have been making a big impact, and the Hornets will face one of the biggest tonight. Lanky Tallmadge forward Andrew Francesconi is averaging an SL-high 20.7 points per game.

l All-Gazette small forward Brogan Scott (ankle) will be out tonight.

l Highland has already used a Medina County-high 16 players, with Ed Williams, Billy Kirchner, Myles Houska, Tyler Frederick, Josh Hadler, Ben Hauser, Alec Withers and Kevin Greenhoe making their varsity debuts.

Medina (1-1, 0-0)

Senior Dillon Wiesler leads all Medina County bench players with a 10.0 scoring average.

l Junior guard Brian Letts made his last four shot attempts Tuesday against Mayfield, while senior forward Geschke canned four of his final six.

Wadsworth (1-3, 1-1)

The Grizzlies need a win tonight to avoid their worst start since 1977. The good news is that team won 11 of its final 14 games and tied for the first Pioneer Conference title.

l Heading into Tuesday’s game against Green, junior point guard Patrick Long was 7-of-13 (.538) from 3-point range and junior guard Anthony Palecek was averaging 4.0 assists.

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.