STRONGSVILLE — The best way to bounce back from a tough loss is immediately and definitively.
That’s what the Medina boys basketball had in mind Friday going into a Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division game against rival Strongsville.
Powered by 6-foot-5 power forward Branden Wilkins’ career-high-tying 30 points, the Bees pressured their way to an 88-62 win.
Jon Teske and Craig Randall added 12 points each.
“We knew we had to get this win after the (55-51) Hudson loss (Tuesday),” Wilkins said. “It feels good to get it and get back on a good conference run to challenge for the title.”
Medina pressed from the start. Every time Strongsville touched the ball, the Bees swarmed, but Medina turnovers and Strongsville 3-pointers kept the game at 14-12 after the first quarter.
Then Medina struck.
A 10-1 run early in the second helped the Bees (15-3, 8-1) pad their lead. The constant pressure wore on the Mustangs (1-16, 0-9) leading to turnovers and missed shots. Wilkins then started to roll with 10 points in the second.
“In the second quarter, our defense tightened up,” Medina coach Anthony Stacey said. “We wanted to pick up our full-court press and get away from the trap. That let us negate the easy baskets and clog up the passing lanes.”
Medina’s size helped it control the paint on both ends. The trio of Wilkins, Teske and Randall cleaned up everything around the basket, combining for 18 rebounds.
“Coming in, we knew we had a big size advantage,” Wilkins said. “Coach told us, ‘Dump the ball straight in.’ I just had to catch the ball under the basket and finish.”
Nothing seemed to go for the Mustangs. A Medina turnover turned into a two-on-one the other way, but Tanner Castora’s layup was met by the 6-10 Teske’s hand, killing the Strongsville drive.
“Coach told me to be more aggressive,” Teske said. “It feels good. Coming into the final stretch, we wanted to get a win. We came out aggressive and got what we wanted.”
The win comes at the end of a busy week for the Bees. The game Friday was their third in five days after a double-overtime win against Brunswick on Monday and the Hudson loss.
“We did a good job getting the bad taste out of our mouth,” Stacey said. “We decided to give the kids off on Wednesday to get some rest. I thought they came out tonight fresh. It’s always tough coming off a loss, but they put together a great effort.”
|Strongsville took the junior varsity contest 47-38. Late baskets by Zach Thrall and Garrett Dabato sealed the win for the Mustangs.|
Contact Jonathan Huff at email@example.com.
Medina 88, Strongsville 62
MEDINA 14 29 21 24 — 88
STRONGSVILLE 12 16 19 15 — 62
Medina — Jake Hamel 0-0-0, Branden Wilkins 14-2-30, Jon Teske 4-4-12, Craig Randall 4-4-12, Zach Bennett 4-0-10, Mike Kaminski 2-2-7, Jordan Bybee 1-0-2, Delontaye Morrow 0-0-0, Brent Lary 2-4-8, Ben Geschke 3-0-7. TOTALS: 34-16-88.
Strongsville — Tanner Castora 5-0-10, Vince Dindia 0-0-0, Tyler Jamison 3-3-9, Derrick Toffey 3-1-8, Drew Robertson 6-1-16, Alex Ruch 0-0-0, Sean Aske 2-3-8, Dom Estremera 1-0-3, Alex Barnes 0-0-0, Jonnie Hopkins 0-2-2, Josh Vago 1-0-3, Bobby Cole 1-0-2, Jacob Oblak 0-1-1. TOTALS: 22-11-62.
3-point goals — Bennett 2, Kaminski, Geschke, Robertson 3, Toffey, Aske, Estremera, Vago. Rebounds — Medina 25 (Wilkins 8), Strongsville 12 (Toffey 4). Assists — Medina 13 (Randall 4), Strongsville 8 (Toffey, Castora, Dindia 2). Records — Medina (15-3, 8-1), Strongsville (1-16, 0-9). Junior varsity —Strongsville 47, Medina 38.