MEDINA — If Tuesday is any indicator, the combination of power forward Branden Wilkins, combo guard Craig Randall and center Jon Teske has a chance to be very, very special.
The Medina “Big Three” played more like the “Huge Three,” dominating every facet of the game as the Bees crushed perennially respectable Brush 73-52 in Northeast Ohio Conference cross-division action.
The well-built 6-foot-6 Wilkins, skilled 6-2 Girard transfer Randall and 6-10 Teske combined for 54 points, 26 rebounds and four assists. They also helped hold the Arcs (1-1) to just 17-of-64 shooting (.266), including 2-of-17 from 3-point range, and were a major factor why Medina (1-0) held a whopping 55-28 advantage on the glass.
“I thought we started off the season well,” Wilkins said. “I expected this, so it felt good.”
Wilkins finished with a team-high 21 points, including 13 in the middle quarters, to go with seven rebounds. The left-handed Randall showed touch from the outside with 12 of his 16 points coming from beyond the arc, while Teske put up big numbers in the fourth quarter en route to 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks.
Point guard Zach Bennett also had a stat-stuffing night with four points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals, and backup big man Mike Kaminski contributed nine points, six boards and two blocks.
“Coach (Anthony Stacey) prepared us really well coming into this,” said Randall, a Division III honorable mention All-Ohioan a year ago. “We were focused (Monday) in practice, so coming out wasn’t a big deal for us. We just needed to play hard and do what we needed to do. We played really well as a team.”
For as lopsided as the final score was, the Bees (1-0) still had to work for it. Brush trailed 38-19 midway through the second quarter, but cut the deficit to three possessions early in the third behind the efforts of volume-shooting point guard Chris Oakley (game-high 22 points on 8-of-25 shooting), the nephew of former NBA enforcer Charles Oakley.
The Medina defense — the Bees used a man press, matchup 2-3 and half-court man — then rose to the occasion by forcing bricks that fueled a run in which Wilkins and Randall combined for 11 points. The Bees later put things on ice despite Brush being in the bonus just 3:10 into the second half.
“We worked hard before the season started, so everyone can run and do everything together,” Wilkins said. “Everyone was playing hard.”
Medina was so impressive its large student section chanted “Brunswick’s worried,” in the fourth quarter, drawing grins from the handful of Blue Devils players sitting in the visiting bleachers.
Even though the season is essentially five days old, the rivalry is in midseason form heading into an NOC Valley Division opener Friday at Brunswick.
So, too, were the Bees.
“I think this is the year for us and Medina in general,” Wilkins said.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.