MEDINA — Lose track of Billy Geschke for even a minute and he’s going to make a big impact.
For the most part, the Wadsworth boys basketball team’s box-and-one defense held Medina County’s leading scorer in check, but when it came to crunch time, the Grizzlies had no answer.
Geschke almost single-handedly took the game over in the final 4 minutes Tuesday, leading Medina to a physical 58-46 non-league win.
The Goshen (Ind.) recruit scored nine of the Bees’ final 11 points, including four in a 1-minute span that forced the Grizzlies (7-6), who entered play winners in six of their last seven, to abandon the special game plan and go into panic mode.
“It’s a very nice win,” Geschke said. “It’s kind of like our second Medina vs. Brunswick game. It’s that kind of rivalry. It’s always good to get a win against one of your rival teams.”
The harassing combination of Barry Fernholz, Tucker Robinson and Martice Jackson limited the 6-foot-1 Geschke to 10 points through three quarters, with four of them coming on put-backs. Medina maintained a slim lead due to the inside scoring of 6-9 Jon Teske (10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 blocks) and a bench that outscored Wadsworth 18-0.
The Grizzlies briefly gained momentum with Geschke on the bench, as Fernholz had a steal-and-score that put them up 35-34 with 3:03 left in the third quarter. It also marked the first time a Wadsworth player other than Kyle Prunty (19 points, 14 rebounds), Patrick Long (11 points) or Austin White (9 points on 4-of-14 shooting, 9 rebounds, 7 turnovers) scored a point.
Medina (8-6) countered by finishing the quarter on an 8-2 run behind buckets from Teske and backups Dillon Wiesler (team-high 4 assists), Mike Kaminski (team-high 7 rebounds) and Zach Bennett (9 points, 3 assists), and, from that point forward, it was time for Geschke and a half-court trap to shine.
“Wadsworth is a really good defensive team, I think,” said Geschke, who now has 864 career points. “Their coach really knows what he’s doing out there on the defensive end.”
Free throw shooting by Prunty and Nathan Pound clawed Wadsworth within 49-44 midway through the fourth. All of the hard effort went for naught when consecutive turnovers by White and Pound allowed Geschke to get a steal for a layup and a pair of free throws to make it 53-44.
The outcome was never in doubt from that point, as the Grizzlies were 2-of-12 from the floor in the fourth.
“It felt really good after getting that steal,” Geschke said. “When (White) passed that, Coach (Anthony Stacey) was like, ‘Billy!’ and I got the steal and finished. It felt even better after Jon got that second steal because I felt, ‘We can pull this out.’
The first half was fast-paced, yet neither team gained much ground because of shaky shooting. With Geschke and White receiving extra attention, Prunty had 11 points, including his first career 3-pointer at the first-quarter horn, and seven rebounds, while Teske had six points, five boards and two swats.
Medina’s bench eventually established itself, and the Grizzlies’ struggled. Prunty, White and Long scored their team’s first 33 points, but everyone else was 0-of-10.
Finally, the Bees pulled away for good once Geschke got hot.
“He had 11 (points) in the fourth quarter, and when you start pressing, you lose him in transition,” Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. said. “I mean, it’s much easier to take someone out of the game when you’re in a half-court game, so that’s why we weren’t pressing the entire game. I think our guys did a pretty good job of that through the first three quarters. We held him to 10, and I’ll take that most nights.”
Wadsworth girls basketball player Peyton Booth and Medina junior varsity boys player Spencer Koch were the only people to make a half-court shot at halftime.
Evan Schreck had 19 points to lead the Bees’ junior varsity to a 67-47 win. Tyson Heideman had 15 for the Grizzlies.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.