Medina's Corey Tripp (24) gets two points on a rebound as Elyria's Caleb Rogers (4) and William Waddell (33) look on. RUSS GIFFORD / GAZETTE
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MEDINA — The Medina boys basketball team came out punching at the beginning and showed poise at the end.
Put the two together Friday and it was easy to see why the Bees walked out with a 72-62 Greater Cleveland Conference win over Elyria.
“That’s been our M.O. all year,” Medina coach Chris Hassinger said. “We were down early in the first game of the season, and then at Euclid we were down, I want to say, 14 at one time, and then we were down at Revere. It’s just the fight in our kids.
“I’m telling you, top to bottom, this is the toughest group of kids I’ve ever seen at Medina. They just have this edge to them. You can yell at them, you can scream at them, and they just get tougher. Some kids tend to go away when you do that. That’s not this group. They’re just tough, hard-nosed kids that don’t want to quit.”
Unlike previous games, the Bees (4-0, 2-0) didn’t need to get kicked in the teeth to get going.
Thanks in large part to a fantastic game by shooting guard Kyle Szumski (26 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists), Medina came out swinging and delivered haymaker after haymaker against the Pioneers (3-2, 0-2).
It led to a 40-25 lead at the break, with much of that having to do with a 17-point first-half explosion by Szumski and a defense that forced Elyria into 13 turnovers.
“We talked at halftime and told them that first half wasn’t us,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “Thirteen turnovers is what we’ve been doing for an entire game. That put us in a hole. We weren’t very strong in the first half.
“Don’t get me wrong. Give (Hassinger) and those guys credit. They played extremely hard. Their defense was really good. They were doing a lot of really good things.”
The one thing Hassinger knew was that the Pioneers weren’t going to go away and they didn’t, playing fantastic defense that held Medina without a point for 5:21 in the second half.
What’s more, Caleb Rogers (16 points) and MarSaun Robinson (12) scored 14 unanswered points to tie things at 46 with 32 seconds left in the third quarter, but Szumski scored just before the end of the period and Medina never let Elyria back in.
That basket keyed a 16-6 run, with sophomore point guard Corey Tripp (13 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) and Szumski leading the way.
“We were really proud of our effort,” Hassinger said. “We’re still so young in a lot of ways. We came in with a lot of energy at halftime. We’re all excited and we said we have to sustain it.
“With teams like this, if you let them back in, they’ll make it a dogfight. That’s exactly what happened. You want to win, but those games make you so much better.”
What stood out even more was the unselfishness Medina showed with the ball. The Bees assisted on 17 of their 27 baskets and had 10 players score at least one basket.
In the end, however, it was Szumski and Tripp getting things done when Medina needed them the most.
“Our leadership from our seniors really helped us get back into the lead,” Tripp said. “We just had to calm down and get to the rim.”
Jajuan Jackson scored 13 points and Chris Howard scored 12 to lift the Medina junior varsity to a 65-40 win over Elyria.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 72, Elyria 62
ELYRIA 12 13 21 16 — 62
MEDINA 20 20 8 24 — 72
Elyria — Aiden Carter 2-1-6, Josiah Grantham 2-0-4, William Wadell 5-0-10, MarSaun Robinson 6-0-12, Caleb Rogers 6-1-16, Jahkai Owens 1-0-2, Izaiah Thomas 0-0-0, Nate Collins 4-0-12, Tryen Lee 0-0-0. TOTALS: 26-2-62.
Medina — Drew Hassinger 3-0-8, Doug Sartain 0-0-0, Sam Peacock 1-0-2, Kyle Szumski 10-4-26, Corey Tripp 5-1-13, Tayvion Guthier 2-2-7, Spencer Aylward 2-0-6, Jack Hagan 1-0-3, Brandon Geshke 1-0-2, Luke Hensley 1-1-3, Daniel Terriion 1-0-2. TOTALS: 27-8-72.
3-point goals — Collins 4, Rogers 3, Carter, Szumski 2, Aylward 2, Tripp 2, Hassinger 2, Gauthier, Hagan. Rebounds — Elyria 30 (Grantham 7), Medina 30 (Szumski 11). Assists — Elyria 15 (Robinson 5), Medina 17 (Tripp 6). Records — Elyria (3-2, 0-2), Medina (4-0, 2-0). Junior varsity — Medina 65, Elyria 40.