BRUNSWICK — Don’t be scared, young guys, because Tyler Kaminski, Dylan Fultz and Colin Szumski know how to traverse the treacherous road to the promised land.
The seventh-seeded Medina boys basketball team appeared dead in the water Saturday, trailing No. 2 Brunswick by double digits in the third quarter of a Strongsville Division I Sectional final. For 95 percent of other schools, that’s an automatic game over.
The three veterans from last season’s regional team refused to give in, however, and the Bees pulled off a 47-44 stunner by scoring 21 of the final 29 points.
Medina (8-16) is headed to districts for the sixth time in the last seven seasons and has a 12-3 postseason record under fourth-year coach Chris Hassinger. It would reach an unprecedented fifth straight championship game with an upset of third-seeded St. Ignatius (15-6), a 56-48 winner over No. 6 Brecksville, on Thursday.
“We believed,” Kaminski said. “We were ready for this game. We prepared like no other because first time we played them, they killed us (60-45). Second time we played them, we were almost there (61-51).
“Now, we went over the top.”
The 6-foot-7 Kaminski was the man of the hour with a career-high 19 points, including 5-of-6 3-pointers after entering play with 20 threes in 57 career games. Fultz (10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) held Blue Devils standout Kyle Goessler to six points on 2-for-10 shooting, while Szumski made key fourth-quarter plays en route to eight points, five boards and five dimes.
The game revolved around three runs: Medina made 7-of-10 shots to go up 20-12, Brunswick (17-6) countered 24-6 and the Bees closed 21-8, which included a 15-5 fourth quarter.
“It’s not how good you are,” Fultz said. “It’s how you compete.”
Brunswick was led by 19 points from point guard Nick Felician, who made 3-of-10 3-pointers and added three steals but was without an assist due partly to Medina’s defensive scheme. Danny Dakdouk added eight first-half points, while center Zak Zografos was limited to four points on 2-for-3 shooting.
Though the Bees played mostly traditional man after Felician scored 16 points in the first half, their initial strategy took away Zografos and Goessler. Kaminski technically guarded Felician but rarely came above the foul line to take away driving lanes, which also allowed him to double team Zografos on the block if needed.
Brunswick made 7-of-27 3-pointers and missed all five attempts in the fourth, when they were 1-for-10 from the floor. The Blue Devils were limited to one point over the final 3:14.
“Give Medina credit,” coach Joe Mackey said. “They closed the game, and we didn’t.”
Medina’s comeback was methodical, as 7:14 ticked by before the Bees took the lead for good at 42-41 on Kyle Szumski free throws. Kaminski’s fifth three came on the previous possession, while Colin Szumski followed his brother with a 3-pointer and Goessler countered with a jumper to make it 45-43.
Eventually Kaminski tried to score in the post but missed. Brunswick grabbed the rebound, but Colin Szumski quickly stole the ball and fed Kaminski for a 47-43 advantage with 1:50 to go. Goessler split free throws 10 seconds later, and Medina couldn’t push the lead back to two possessions.
Time melted as Brunswick couldn’t get off a shot. Mackey called timeout with 44 seconds left, and a Goessler drive down the lane was blocked by Kaminski. The Blue Devils’ Alex Wyatt (3 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) came up with the rebound, and another timeout was called with 13.3 seconds remaining.
Brunswick tried to get the ball to Goessler to no avail, and Felician was pinned in front of the Blue Devils’ student section. Medina’s Dillon Friedrick shaded to Felician’s right shooting hand, so Felician had to lean left and forward for a foot-on-the-line 2-point attempt that was long.
The clock initially ran out but the officials put 0.3 seconds back on. By rule, no shot can be allowed in that timeframe, and Medina stormed the court after Wyatt’s 3-point attempt was waved off.
“We just beat one of the best teams in the state of Ohio,” Kaminski said. “Now we think we can beat anyone.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 47, Brunswick 44
Strongsville Division I Sectional Final
MEDINA 14 10 8 15 — 47
BRUNSWICK 12 14 13 5 — 44
Medina — Kyle Szumski 2-5 2-2 6, Dylan Fultz 4-6 2-2 10, Tyler Kaminski 7-11 0-0 19, Colin Szumski 3-5 0-0 8, Corey Tripp 0-4 2-2 2, Drew Hassinger 1-5 0-0 2, Dillon Friedrick 0-0 0-0 0, Daniel Terrion 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17-36 6-6 47.
Brunswick — Xavier Diaz 2-5 0-0 4, Alex Wyatt 1-5 0-0 3, Zak Zografos 2-3 0-0 4, Kyle Goessler 2-10 1-2 6, Nick Felician 6-15 4-5 19, Danny Dakdouk 3-7 0-0 8, Jason Becka 0-0 0-0 0, Trevor Mackey 0-2 0-0 0. TOTALS: 16-47 5-7 44.
3-point goals — Medina 7-17 (Kaminski 5-6, C. Szumski 2-4, Fultz 0-1, K. Szumski 0-3, Hassinger 0-3), Brunswick 7-27 (Felician 3-10, Dakdouk 2-5, Goessler 1-4, Wyatt 1-4, Diaz 0-1, Zografos 0-1, Mackey 0-2). Rebounds — Medina 23 (Fultz, C. Szumski 5), Brunswick 23 (Wyatt 7). Assists — Medina 12 (Fultz, C. Szumski 5), Brunswick 5 (Wyatt 3). Turnovers — Medina 9 (Tripp 3), Brunswick 5 (Felician, Zografos 2). Fouls — Medina 7, Brunswick 9. Fouled out — None. Records — Medina (8-16), Brunswick (17-6).