MEDINA — The Medina boys basketball team won by a nose Friday.
But it wasn’t because of point guard Logan Winkler’s. His was inadvertently obliterated by the right elbow of Brunswick counterpart Ryan Badowski.
The emotional lift from Winkler’s scary moment was what the Bees needed in an incredibly tense, physical and entertaining 62-59 Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division victory.
“It was really emotional, especially after we lost one of our key guys out there,” said Medina senior Billy Geschke, who scored 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter. “He’s our point guard and he runs the floor for us, but we never let up. We stuck together the whole time.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him. We knew God was watching over him when it happened.”
The play in question happened with the score tied at 32 and 3:50 remaining in the third quarter. Badowski (21 points) lost the handle on a behind-the-back dribble and, when he attempted to square up after regaining possession, his right elbow connected squarely between Winkler’s eyes.
No foul was called as Winkler crumbled to the floor and Badowski bricked a 3-pointer. The rebound eventually went out of bounds and Winkler remained on the floor with blood spewing from his nose.
After nearly a 20-minute delay, Medina trainer Courtney John lifted the towels from Winkler’s face. The senior then rose to his feet and pointed to the student section while receiving a standing ovation before leaving the gym under his own power.
It was a heart-stopping situation for all involved, and one that jacked up the Bees.
“When (Badowski) did that, I was going crazy at the ref because he didn’t call a foul,” said Geschke, who emphasized he felt the play was not intentional. “Then when I saw the blood, I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh. He just did not do that to one of my teammates.’
“We had his back no matter what. Our intensity level skyrocketed after that.”
Medina (5-4, 1-2), which was extra physical with Badowski the rest of the way as its student section booed passionately, held off the feisty Blue Devils thanks to a total team effort in the fourth quarter. Geschke made sets of free throws to tie the game at 41 and give the Bees leads of 52-45, 56-50, 60-56 and 62-59, and Brian Letts (14 points) added 4-of-4 at the line.
They were hardly the only contributors, as Branden Wilkins (10 points, 15 rebounds) had eight rebounds and two assists in the fourth quarter, including a pretty dime in traffic to John Teske (6 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks) to put Medina up 54-50. Zach Bennett, who replaced Winkler cold off the bench, hit a huge 3-pointer that made the margin seven points.
“That was awesome,” Wilkins said of the balance. “I hope that happens more often.”
For all of Medina’s valiant efforts — it made 14 straight free throws to end the night — Brunswick (5-6, 0-3) kept it close with a barrage of 3-pointers from Kyle Wheeler (17 points), Zach Parker (17) and Badowski.
The Blue Devils had a chance to send the game into overtime after Parker hit three free throws with 2.9 seconds left to pull his team within one at 60-59.
Following two Geschke free throws with no time taken off the clock — Alex Hartill fouled him before Teske could inbound — Medina inexplicably left 6-foot-7 Taylor Armagost wide open at half court. Wheeler threw a perfect pass to Armagost from the opposite baseline, but Armagost’s ensuing pass drilled an equally wide-open Badowski in the ankles.
“People felt for Logan and everybody stepped up,” Wilkins said. “We’re all like brothers here.”
For the first 2½ quarters, Medina was on the verge of pulling away but never could. The Bees took a 17-9 lead early in the second quarter and were manhandling the Blue Devils in the post, as Wilkins and Teske outscored counterparts Armagost, Hartill and Patrick Jarvis 16-4 and outrebounded them 23-11 on the night.
Due to outstanding perimeter defense from Dillon Wiesler, Winkler, Letts and Geschke, Brunswick was a paltry 12-of-39 (.308) shooting through the first three quarters, yet trailed just 38-37 because of 11 second-quarter points by Badowski and eight third-quarter points from Parker.
Once Badowski drilled Winkler, however, the stage was set for Medina winning by a nose.
“This doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t sleep well at night,” said Brunswick coach Joe Mackey, whose team has lost four of its last five. “This is one of the bigger challenges for me in my 17 years. This is supposed to be our best team and it’s probably our worst record in quite some time (1994-95).
“Granted, take into consideration we’re playing great teams — I think Medina’s a very good team — but it’s very frustrating. We can continue to suffer or we can continue to work hard in practice. They look to me for guidance, and I’ve got to do a better job. That’s the bottom line.”
|Once Winkler left the floor, the teams were permitted to warm up. The delay lasted 23 minutes.
l Medina held on to win the junior varsity game 55-53. The Bees, who were up 20 in the second half, were led by 18 points from Spencer Koch. Jason Okulovich had 15 for the Blue Devils.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or email@example.com.
Medina 62, Brunswick 59
BRUNSWICK 9 16 13 21 — 59
MEDINA 15 11 12 24 — 62
Brunswick — Zach Parker 5-3-17, Alex Hartill 1-0-2, Taylor Armagost 1-0-2, Kyle Wheeler 4-6-17, Ryan Bradowski 7-4-21, Patrick Jarvis 0-0-0, Billy Applebee 0-0-0. TOTALS: 18-13-59.
Medina — Billy Geschke 6-12-24, Branden Wilkins 2-6-10, John Teske 3-0-6, Brian Letts 4-4-13, Logan Winkler 0-0-0, Dillon Wiesler 1-0-2, Nick Fryer 0-0-0, Mike Kaminski 1-0-2, Tyler King 0-0-0, Zach Bennett 2-0-5. TOTALS: 19-22-62.
3-point goals — Parker 4, Wheeler 3, Badowski 3, Letts, Bennett. Rebounds — Brunswick 23 (Armagost 7), Medina 37 (Wilkins 15). Assists — Brunswick 8 (Hartill 3), Medina 6 (Winkler, Geschke, Wilkins 2). Records — Brunswick (5-6, 0-3), Medina (5-4, 1-2). Junior varsity — Medina 55, Brunswick 53.