BRUNSWICK — It was not permitted to celebrate on the court Friday, so Medina’s student section gleefully went to the locker room instead.
It took Bees boys basketball coach Anthony Stacey all of about two seconds to agree to the demand of “The Swarm” after Medina demolished Brunswick 63-35 in Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division play.
No one wearing green was ready to brave the snowstorm and head home yet. So, with Stacey leading the charge, about 150 people packed into the locker room and belted out the popular chant “I believe that we have won” with such force it drew looks of curiosity outside.
Welcome to Medina’s County’s most intense rivalry, which has ratcheted up a notch now that the Bees (2-0, 1-0) have won four straight.
“It’s awesome,” power forward Branden Wilkins said. “Those guys talk a lot of junk. It’s a big rivalry, and we hate them. We were friends at one point in time — I played AAU with a bunch of those guys — but now since we’ve all got up here (to the varsity level), it’s turned into a big rivalry.”
Medina roared to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, pushed it to 20 on a breakaway dunk by Wilkins and got to 30 when Girard transfer Craig Randall went off in the fourth quarter.
Wilkins finished with 19 points, six rebounds, two steals and put The Swarm into early hysteria when he hammered an alley-oop, one-handed dunk for the game’s first field goal. Randall looked far more comfortable in a Medina uniform and tore up Brunswick’s matchup 2-3 zone to the tune of 23 points, six boards and six assists while hounding Brunswick point guards Jason Okulovich and Michael Quiring.
In two games, the inside-out combination has 80 points on 31-for-58 shooting. Its performance Friday was a main reason why the Bees handed the Blue Devils (1-1, 0-1) their worst loss in the series since Jan. 7, 1994 (80-49).
“The transfer (Randall) obviously was special,” Brunswick coach Joe Mackey said. “I thought he was the difference on the perimeter and Wilkins was the difference down low. We didn’t have an answer foe either of them.”
Medina also received solid efforts from its role players. Center Jon Teske had five points and 10 rebounds, sixth man Evan Schreck contributed five points, four rebounds and three assists and the three-pronged attack of Zach Bennett, Schreck and Tyler King took the Blue Devils out of their comfort zone with physical defense on Longwood (Va.) University recruit and 800-point scorer Ryan Badowski.
Brunswick was fresh off drilling 13 3-pointers in a season-opening win over Lexington, but the Bees held the Blue Devils to a dreadful 4-for-27 (.148) from beyond the arc and 9-for-42 (.214) overall. Brunswick bricked 11 of its first 12 3-pointers, then 17-of-20 total shots in the second half before backup guard Kevin Simmons hit a driving layup in the closing moments of the game.
Veterans Badowski and Zach Parker, the county’s reigning co-champion with 67 threes a year ago, had 13 points on 4-for-18 shooting.
The Blue Devils’ only positive was a short burst of energy from power forward Austin Conn (5 points, 5 rebounds) to begin the second half.
“The key to the game was to come in and stop Badowski, and I thought Zach, T.K. and even Evan did a great job on him,” Randall said. “Defense basically won us the game.”
The Bees won’t have much time to soak this one in, as Berea-Midpark comes to Medina for a non-league game tonight.
Rest assured, though, they won’t make any excuses for cramming a weekend’s worth of celebration into roughly 20 minutes.
“It just shows you how much this means to our school, our community and our fans,” Stacey said. “I think our team came out with excellent mental focus, and I thought our defense was excellent all night. Our guys really took pride in what we worked on.
“It was just one of those days, you know?”
|Before tipoff, Parker was presented with the game ball from his record-setting game against Cloverleaf in last year’s Copley Division I Sectional semifinals. Parker broke the county record with 10 threes and also reset the Brunswick season mark as well.
The game was stopped for roughly 5 minutes with 5:02 left in the first quarter when one of the officials sustained a serious foot injury.
Simmons had 18 points as Brunswick’s junior varsity won 62-52. Benny Geschke had 11 for the Bees.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 63, Brunswick 35
MEDINA 18 20 9 16 — 63
BRUNSWICK 5 11 10 9 — 35
Medina — Jake Hamel 1-1-3, Branden Wilkins 7-5-19, Jon Teske 2-1-5, Craig Randall 9-1-23, Zach Bennett 0-0-0, Evan Schreck 2-0-5, Mike Kaminski 0-1-1, Tyler King 2-0-5, Brent Lary 1-0-2, Jordan Bybee 0-0-0, A.C. Schreiber 0-0-0, Delontaye Morrow 0-0-0. TOTALS: 24-9-63.
Brunswick — Zach Parker 1-0-3, Austin Conn 2-0-5, Eric Bulic 1-2-5, Ryan Badowski 3-4-10, Jason Okulovich 0-0-0, Steven Ficyk 0-0-0, Zach Cebula 0-2-2, Michael Quiring 1-0-3, Nick Furman 0-0-0, Anthony Slane 0-4-4, Kevin Simmons 1-0-2, Aaron Badowski 0-0-0, Patrick Magalski 0-1-1, Jeff Rozier 0-0-0. TOTALS: 9-13-35.
3-point goals — Randall 4, Schreck, King, Parker, Conn, Bulic, Quiring. Rebounds — Medina 33 (Teske 10), Brunswick 21 (Conn 5). Assists — Medina 13 (Randall 6), Brunswick 2 (Badowski, Ficyk). Records — Medina (2-0, 1-0), Brunswick (1-1, 0-1). Junior varsity — Brunswick 62, Medina 52.