GRANGER TWP. — Things were close for awhile, but Medina’s girls basketball team ran away with a 63-48 non-league win over Highland on Wednesday behind a very balanced offense.
The Bees (11-2) had 12 players tally points, headlined by double-digit efforts from Sarah Kinch and Mandi Tata.
Coincidentally, Tata (11 points) was inserted into the starting lineup when Kinch (12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 steals) was late for the pre-game shootaround.
The Hornets (7-5) made things interesting at the beginning, pulling within 11-7 on a layup by Anna Rose Wiencek (12 points, 12 rebounds) to begin the second quarter.
Highland looked like it was going to give the Bees a battle at that point, but things fell apart quickly.
“We were aggressive and knew what we had to do,” Highland senior AnnMarie Kirchner said. “Then, after a few mistakes on our part and them making a few breakaway layups, we got down on ourselves.
“It’s one of those things that we have to get past it and forget about it.”
It was a Medina runaway from that point, as the game quickly turned in its favor.
“We played really good defense (in the second quarter),” Bees coach Chris Hassinger said. “That’s what it came down to. That’s where our success has been all season long. When we beat teams by more than 15, that means we’re playing really well defensively.”
The Bees played their best defense during the decisive second quarter, using their full-court pressure to go on a 15-3 run after the Wiencek basket. By the time it was over, they held a 26-9 lead.
Then it was officially coast mode for Medina, which did not sit well with Hassinger.
“I was embarrassed by our second-half defensive effort and our free throw shooting,” he said. “You can’t consider yourself one of the best teams in Northeast Ohio and play with that consistency. It’s just very disappointing because we came out and played pretty well in the first half.”
Despite ballooning the lead to 20 points multiple times in the second half, Medina allowed Highland to creep back to within 57-46.
“We have to be able to finish,” Hassinger said. “We need to make these guys have (the ability to finish). We came out and were just ho-hum. We subbed 5-for-5 because there was a lack of passion in the second half.”
The Hornets did most of their catch-up work from the free throw line. While Highland was a solid 8-of-12 at the line in the fourth quarter, Medina struggled at 9-of-18.
“We’ve been working on shooting them a lot in practice,” said Medina senior Angela Tesny, who had seven points and nine rebounds. “Obviously, we need to put more work in on free throws and we just have to keep working on it.”
Medina earned the sweep with a 54-29 win in the junior varsity game. Jessie Holzman led the Bees with 13 points, while Malorie Bush led the Hornets with nine.
Contact Chad Grant at email@example.com.