June 28, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Bees celebrate senior night with win over Strongsville

MEDINA — The Medina boys basketball team used Friday to reminisce, but didn’t lose sight of the present. Now the Bees will turn their full attention to the postseason.

With a large and raucous crowd on hand, Medina celebrated senior night with a 72-54 Northeast Ohio Conference Stars Division victory over Strongsville.

One of four seniors playing his final home game in front of “The Swarm” — the student section packed two-thirds of the completely filled low-level stands on the home side, while adults filled most of the upper level — shooting guard Billy Geschke put up 30 points, five rebounds and six assists while making six of his team’s 12 3-pointers.

“It blew by so fast,” the 1,000-point scorer said. “I can remember my freshman year, working with all the coaches before I was brought up to junior varsity, like it was yesterday.”

Senior point guard Logan Winkler added eight points and a pair of assists, while classmates Nick Fryer (2 points, 3 rebounds) and Dillon Wiesler (2 assists) also started in their final home game.

All were introduced with their parents before the game, then again afterward, when each spoke to the crowd, as did the senior cheerleaders. After that, Bees coach Anthony Stacey fulfilled a promise by performing the “Harlem Shake,” which was followed by the entire student section and Medina players giving their rendition of the current dance craze.

“It’s mindboggling,” Winkler said when asked to look back on his career. “I feel like I was just watching the other seniors as a freshman. It’s crazy how fast it goes by. I tell the freshmen now to make sure they enjoy it. In the blink of an eye, you’re done.”

Except the Bees (12-10, 4-6) aren’t done, and they don’t plan on their season ending for a while as they prepare to open Copley Division I Sectional play against Highland on Wednesday.

“We’re going to use our conditioning to play harder than other teams and we’re going to knock down shots,” Winkler said. “We’re out to do what we did last year — or maybe more.”

After going 5-15 in the regular season last year, Medina came out of nowhere to win the Copley District and reach the final of the University of Akron Regional.

“Our expectations are real high,” Geschke said. “Our confidence is way up. We’re looking very good right now.”

Other than the beginning, when Medina fell behind 15-5 before going on a 16-2 run to take the lead for good, that was on full display against the Mustangs (3-19, 0-10).

Whether he was being played straight up or with a box-and-one, Geschke could not be stopped, as he had a field goal and six free throws in the first period, three 3-pointers in the second, two threes and a two-pointer in the third and one of each in the fourth. He also repeatedly found open teammates when the Mustangs attempted to double-team him, a large reason why Mike Kaminski finished with 10 points and Zach Bennett had eight.

“When teams play box-and-one or run two people at me, I’ve got to find the open man,” Geschke said. “I can’t force shots.”

Power forward Branden Wilkins bulled his way to 13 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and one resounding dunk in transition for Medina — his scoring total would have been higher were it not for 3-for-10 shooting at the line — while 6-foot-9 freshman center Jon Teske added eight boards.

It all added up to a successful night for the Bees, who shared 40 large pizzas and dozens and dozens of hot dogs on the court with their fans after the game.

Almost all hung around long after the 6-4 Stacey, who tips the scales at close to 300 pounds, performed his postgame dance.

“His dances are priceless,” Geschke said. “He’s fun to watch. He’s like a little kid.”


Strongsville, which got 14 points apiece from guards Tom Krokey and Kyle Meehan, made eight 3-pointers, meaning the teams combined to make 20 shots from beyond the arc.

l Medina won the junior varsity game 37-29 behind nine points apiece from Jake Hamel and Tom Buchtinec.

l Strongsville won the freshman game 43-30 despite 15 points from the Bees’ Jimmy Clark.

l Former Medina standout Kenny Kaminski, who received a full ride to Michigan State, has received a medical redshirt for this season. That means Kaminski will still have four years of eligibility and a regular redshirt season remaining, if it is needed.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.