MEDINA — Style points in March are overrated.
Everyone knew beforehand what the 11th-seeded Green boys basketball team was going to do Thursday against No. 3 Medina in the Copley Division I District semifinals: Maintain patience on offense and bring physicality on defense.
That still wasn’t enough, as the Bees countered with arguably their best defensive effort of the year in a 43-32 victory.
Medina (19-6), which scored 15 of the final 18 points, advances to battle second-seeded UniontownLake (22-2) for the district title Saturday at 4 p.m.
“The game wasn’t at the pace we’d like it to be, but I thought we did a really good job taking them inside and I thought our defense was unbelievable tonight,” Bees coach Anthony Stacey said.
Gaudy numbers were extinct in a slow-paced slugfest that saw the Bulldogs (15-9) melt nearly a minute of clock on a few possessions.
Defense was a big reason for that, as Green scored 19 points over the final three quarters, including three over the last 6:10. The Bulldogs, who actually took 13 more shots than Medina, finished 12-for-48 (.250) from the floor, and leading scorers Austin Marciniak (14.5 ppg coming in) and Carson Corle (12.1) combined to net just 13 points on 5-of-23 shooting.
Medina sophomore center Jon Teske was a big, 6-foot-10 reason for that with 11 points and eight blocks, but the Bees also learned their lesson from a hairy 70-62 win over Wadsworth last week and did not allow Green to make backdoor cuts for layups.
“Our defense really stepped up,” said Teske, who had seven rejections in the first half. “We didn’t give them as much space, and we stepped up on a defense and played hard.”
After the Bulldogs erased a 28-20 hole and took a 29-28 lead on a Marciniak 3-pointer with 6:10 left in the game — Medina was scoreless for a 6:20 stretch — the Bees took control.
It took a team effort for Medina to finally turn stops into scores. Post Mike Kaminski had four points and four rebounds in the fourth quarter, fellow bench player Evan Schreck (7 fourth-quarter points) made a huge 3-pointer to make the score 37-32 with 2:30 left and Craig Randall (8 points, 5 assists) took over point guard responsibilities and had four assists.
Teske added a two-handed dunk against 6-8 Landon Holl midway through the period, while initial lead guard Zach Bennett blocked Corle with 55 seconds remaining.
“We ran our plays perfectly, and we just stuck together,” said Kaminski, who gave the Bees the lead for good off a Randall feed. “That’s all we had to do. That’s what we did, and we pulled out a victory.”
Medina failed to increase tempo at any point because of Green’s never-quit hustle. Kenton Keeslar hounded Randall and rarely fell for one of the many moves used by the All-Ohioan, while multiple converging defenders kept the Bees’ Branden Wilkins (5 points, 7 rebounds) from powering to the rim.
What the Bulldogs didn’t have an answer for was Teske, who stood tall every time Green attempted to drive directly at him and never was forced to the bench.
“Jon played his best game of the year tonight. He was everywhere,” Stacey said. “He’s only a sophomore, but the kid has really come a long way. Tonight he was really aggressive, and when he’s really aggressive, we’re really good.”
Medina players said consistently they have no problem with a slow pace. The Bees will need that comfort level Saturday against Lake, which drilled 10 3-pointers Wednesday in a 54-44 district semifinal win over Federal League rival GlenOak.
“It’s not real frustrating,” Kaminski said. “Yes, we want to go up and down a lot more because that’s our offense, but if we get a ‘W?’ Hey, that’s all we need.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 43, Green 32
Copley Division I District Semifinal
GREEN 13 7 7 5 — 32
MEDINA 14 7 7 15 — 43
Green — Austin Marciniak 4-15 0-0 10, Carson Corle 1-8 1-2 3, John Davies 3-11 1-2 8, Kenton Keeslar 1-6 0-0 3, Nicholas Reale 1-5 2-2 4, Dan Pollock 0-0 0-0 0, Landon Holl 1-1 0-0 2, Noah Glass 1-2 0-0 2. TOTALS: 12-48 4-6 32.
Medina — Delontaye Morrow 1-2 0-0 2, Branden Wilkins 2-4 1-2 5, Jon Teske 5-8 1-1 11, Craig Randall 2-8 2-2 8, Zach Bennett 1-1 0-0 2, Mike Kaminski 3-5 0-0 6, Evan Schreck 3-6 2-2 9, Brent Lary 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Geschke 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17-35 6-7 43.
3-point goals — Green 4-12 (Marciniak 2-9, Davies 1-1, Keeslar 1-2), Medina 3-11 (Randall 2-4, Schreck 1-4, Geschke 0-1, Kaminski 0-2). Fouled out — Reale. Rebounds — Green 18 (Davies 5), Medina 28 (Kaminski, Randall 7). Assists — Green 9 (Reale 4), Medina 10 (Randall 6). Turnovers — Green 8 (Marciniak 4), Medina 11 (Randall 5). Total fouls — Green 11, Medina 12. Records — Green (15-9), Medina (18-6).