MEDINA — Warm-and-fuzzy storylines were so bountiful that detailing all of them would take forever.
The Medina girls basketball team played that well Saturday in a 61-41 Greater Cleveland Conference blowout of last-place Euclid. Coach Karen Kase’s crew posted a season-high point total, passed the ball brilliantly and got notable contributions from everyone in the rotation.
All anyone wanted to talk about, however, was Klara Bergholtz, a bubbly exchange student from Sweden who sent the bench into hysteria when she clinched a double-double in the fourth quarter.
“(This experience) is amazing,” she said. “All the girls and all the coaches from Day 1, they’ve welcomed me with open arms. It’s been great being part of a team because you get really close and they’re so nice. I’m going to miss them all so much when I leave.
“I’m really happy that my shots fell and that I got great passes from my teammates. I guess I decided to be aggressive and it worked out, so it was great to do that tonight.”
Hailing from Stockholm, Bergholtz speaks Swedish, English and Spanish and entered play with a 3.1 scoring average as a valuable backup forward. Since the loss of All-Gazette power forward Emma Bobey to a torn ACL, Bergholtz has seen increased time at center in relief of starter Lindsey Linard.
Linard battled foul trouble against the Panthers (5-13, 2-9), and Bergholtz responded with 13 points and 11 rebounds while hitting baseline jumpers and a 3-pointer to show off a skill set that has made the term “Stretch 4” popular in recent years.
The 5-foot-10 junior, who plays a free-flowing style of club ball in Sweden due to a 24-second shot clock, was particularly dominant in the fourth quarter with six points and five boards.
Bergholtz’s father Håkan, a sports journalist who specializes in alpine skiing and took part in the exchange program at Valley Forge High, arrived in town Tuesday for a surprise visit. The Bees are 2-0 with Håkan in America, having defeated Mentor 43-30 on Wednesday.
“I feel like I was contributing and being a part of the team,” Bergholtz said. “My dad from Sweden was here, so it was real fun for him to see me play. I guess that was extra motivating, and what made it fun was we played as a team, which I think was really good, too.”
Bergholtz was one of a gaggle of stars for the Bees (10-6, 5-6), who took control with a 32-14 advantage in the middle quarters and had a remarkable 20 assists on 23 field goals overall.
Small forward Madison Luthy matched Euclid star Constance Chaplin for game honors with a season-best 14 points. Freshman forward Sarah McKee added 10 points on five shots, senior guard Olivia Gordon drilled two momentum-snatching 3-pointers in the second quarter and freshman guard Elizabeth Stuart pumped in five points in her first 60 seconds on the court.
The eye-popping non-scoring lines of the night belonged to guards Alexa Nau (7 assists), Abby McMullen (3 points, 5 assists, 4 steals) and Alysen Dwyer (3 assists), who combined for 15 dimes and only five turnovers. McMullen assisted on the Bees’ first four buckets, while Nau amazingly matched the feat to begin the second quarter.
Medina had an assist on 12 of its first 13 field goals — the exception was a Bergholtz putback — as Nau, McMullen and Dwyer kept the ball moving against the Panthers’ hodge-podge matchup 2-3 zone that sometimes extended to the volleyball line and left the high post ridiculously wide open.
“We were always looking for the best shot and the best opportunity — the highest percentage shot,” McMullen said. “We wanted to score as a team, and we didn’t play selfish basketball.
“We finally just clicked. We’ve had different lineup changes with (Bobey) out, but we’re finally jelling together and figuring things out.”
The Bees shot 5-for-17 and trailed 13-10 after the first quarter before settling in. The key to the middle periods was holding Chaplin to two points on 1-for-11 shooting — the talented junior still leads the GCC with a 19.3 average — and 13.9-point scorer Delana Harper to two on 1-for-5.
Eight Medina players scored as it led 31-21 at halftime and 42-27 after three quarters, setting the stage for Bergholtz to steal the show.
“(Bergholtz) was awesome,” McMullen said. “We loved — loved — having her score 13 points and having 11 rebounds. Getting a double-double in girls basketball is hard to do, and it was so fun to watch her hustle, get rebounds and score.
“We’re also so blessed that her dad is here from Sweden to see all that.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or email@example.com.
Medina 61, Euclid 41
EUCLID 13 8 6 14 — 41
MEDINA 10 21 11 19 — 61
Euclid — Kirah Hall 0-0-0, Delana Harper 3-5-11, Alexis Robertson 3-0-6, Destinee White 0-1-1, Constance Chaplin 6-2-14, Freddi King 4-0-8, Cierra Blue 0-1-1, Taylor Curtain 0-0-0, Jasmine Perkins-Hirz 0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-9-41.
Medina — Madison Luthy 7-0-14, Sarah McKee 3-4-10, Lindsey Linard 2-0-4, Abby McMullen 1-0-3, Alexa Nau 0-0-0, Klara Bergholtz 5-2-13, Alysen Dwyer 0-1-1, Olivia Gordon 2-0-6, Hailey Seguin 1-0-2, Elizabeth Stuart 2-1-6, Erin Wojciak 0-2-2, Mia Buzzelli 0-0-0, Angela Piloseno 0-0-0, Haley Letner 0-0-0, Rowan McDonald 0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-10-61.
3-point goals — Gordon 2, Stuart, Bergholtz, McMullen. Rebounds — Euclid 32 (Harper 10), Medina 31 (Bergholtz 11). Assists — Euclid 5 (Chaplin 4), Medina 20 (Nau 7). Records — Euclid (5-13, 2-9), Medina (10-6, 5-6). Junior varsity — Medina 49, Euclid 20.