MEDINA — Keep the dogs caged long enough and they’ll come out biting.
Medina boys basketball coach Anthony Stacey never wants to experience a 17-day layoff again, during which the Bees tried to stem the boredom with practices heavy on game situations.
The goal Friday against Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division rival Strongsville was simple: Come out swinging. The Bees did that, as Craig Randall and the inside threesome of Branden Wilkins, Jon Teske and Mike Kaminski made sure the rust was shaken quickly in a 97-55 victory.
It marked the most points by Medina (7-1, 3-0) since beating North Ridgeville 102-57 on Jan. 30, 1998.
“I was happy with our effort and I thought our energy was good,” Stacey said. “It always scares me with the layoff and being rusty. I thought the first quarter was a little rusty, but, for the most part, we played good defensively.
“(The layoff) is tough. It’s the first time we’ve ever done it, and I’m calling around like crazy (for a late-December game next season).”
Medina led 23-6 after one quarter, 47-22 at halftime and completely blew the game open once Stacey lit into his team following a Strongsville mini-run that cut the lead to less than 20.
The left-handed Randall pulled up from everywhere and drove to the cup with ease while finishing with a season-high 28 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. Wilkins had 16 points despite sitting the final 15:43, while Teske and Kaminski each had 14 points.
“Winning tonight was a good thing for us after having 17 days off,” Randall said.
Sensing the Mustangs (1-8, 0-3) couldn’t hang with the big dogs, the Bees pressed from the opening tip and never relented. Strongsville, which received 16 points from small forward Drew Robertson, had more turnovers than points until late in the first quarter.
Randall and Wilkins took over in the second by combining for 18 of the Bees’ 24 points. Randall alone added five rebounds, five assists and two steals in the frame.
Once Wilkins picked up his fourth foul just 17 seconds into the second half, Medina force-fed the rock to the 6-foot-10 Teske, who responded with eight third-quarter points.
“Whenever you have a 6-10 guy or 6-5 and as a strong as Branden, you have to feed them the ball and get them going,” Randall said. “That’s always part of our game plan.”
Robertson and Tanner Castora (10 points) combined to bring Strongsville within 18 points midway through the third before Randall hit consecutive pull-up 3-pointers.
The Bees bench then went wild in the fourth, when freshman Ben Geschke and backup senior post Brent Lary each hit two consecutive 3-pointers and Jordan Bybee drove to the cup for a layup. The crowd groaned when Geschke barely missed a trifecta in the closing minute that negated a rare chance at 100 points.
There’s no resting after one of the most lopsided wins over Strongsville in school history. The Bees will be back at it tonight against two-time Suburban League champion Nordonia and travel to Baldwin Wallace University to face Warrensville Heights on Sunday night.
“We just have to keep getting better,” Stacey said. “Unfortunately, we play (tonight), so we better be ready and already thinking about (tonight).”
|Geschke had 13 points as Medina’s junior varsity win 50-46.|
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 97, Strongsville 55
STRONGSVILLE 6 16 19 14 — 55
MEDINA 23 24 26 24 — 97
Strongsville — Drew Robertson 4-6-16, Tyler Jamison 2-4-8, Jacob Oblak 3-1-7, Tanner Castora 4-0-10, Sean Aske 2-0-4, Vince Dinadia 0-0-0, Derrick Toffey 3-1-7, Josh Vago 0-0-0, John McNelis 1-0-3, Bobby Cole 0-0-0, Alex Ruch 0-0-0, Jonnie Hopkins 0-0-0, Dom Estremera 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-12-55.
Medina — Jake Hamel 2-0-4, Branden Wilkins 6-4-16, Jon Teske 6-2-14, Craig Randall 10-3-28, Zach Bennett 0-0-0, Tyler King 2-0-5, Mike Kaminski 4-5-14, Delontaye Morrow 0-0-0, Brent Lary 2-0-6, Jordan Bybee 1-0-2, Ben Geschke 3-0-8. TOTALS: 36-14-97.
3-point goals — Robertson 2, Castora 2, McNelis, Randall 5, Lary 2, Geschke 7, King, Kaminski. Rebounds — Strongsville 23 (Toffey 6), Medina 36 (Randall 7). Assists — Strongsville 7 (Castora 3), Medina 20 (Randall 6). Records — Strongsville (1-8, 0-3), Medina (7-1, 4-0). Junior varsity — Medina 50, Strongsville 46.