GRANGER TWP. — Lindsey Linard is 6-foot-3, Sarah McKee is 6-1 and Abby McMullen is 6-0. But the players who comprise the starting frontcourt for the Medina girls basketball team aren’t just tall, they’re long and athletic.
Highland found that out often Wednesday night, as the Bees used great defense to record a 51-39 non-league win and stay unbeaten at 8-0.
“Their length gave us problems,” said Hornets coach James Madison, whose team fell to 5-4. “We couldn’t get any offense going. They have tall, long, athletic players. Give Medina credit. They stalled our offense. There’s a reason they’re undefeated.”
Highland shot just 12-for-47 from the field (.255) and went 5-for-30 on two-point shots. Subtract small forward Kendall McCormick, who led all scorers with 21 points, and the Hornets were 5-for-32 from the floor.
“We take a lot of pride in our defense,” said Medina backup guard Alysen Dwyer, who had eight points and four assists. “We focus on it a lot. We know good defense starts the offense.”
With Duquesne recruit Linard (10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists) sitting the final 11:12 of the first half with two fouls, the Bees mixed man-to-man defense with 2-3 and 1-2-2 zones, with the long-limbed McMullen playing up top on the latter.
Highland went 0-for-8 from the floor in a four-point second period and 3-for-22 while scoring 12 points over the middle quarters. Minus McCormick, who had all eight of her team’s points in the third, Highland was 0-for-15 from the field in that 16-minute stretch.
“McCormick’s a great player,” Medina coach Karen Kase said. “We let her get a couple easy buckets, but she’s a competitor. She’s going to play until the final buzzer.”
Lindard was the only Medina player to score in double figures, but the Bees outscored Highland 21-8 while she was on the bench in the first half, giving them a 29-19 lead at halftime.
“I was very pleased and proud of the group that closed the half,” Kase said. “We were in a 2-3 zone, but still intense.”
Medina then closed the third period on a 10-0 run and scored the first bucket of the fourth to go up 47-27 before Highland rattled off 10 straight points to make the final score respectable.
The Bees spread the wealth, as Madison Luthy scored nine points on three 3-pointers, Elizabeth Stuart had seven points and four boards off the bench and fellow reserve Rowan McDonald grabbed five rebounds.
McMullen managed six points while going 2-for-10 from the field, but she didn’t let poor shooting affect other parts of her game, playing excellent defense while finishing with a game-high six assists.
McKee had a similar night, scoring three points on 1-for-6, but she pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and had two assists.
“We’re playing pretty good, but we know we can get better,” Dwyer said. “We haven’t played our best game yet.”
McCormick and Alexis Furyes had six rebounds apiece for Highland, while Lindsey Frederick and Maddie Miller had five points each.
Delaney Lawson and Savannah Podolan had nine points apiece as Highland won the junior varsity game 39-30. Shannon Wojciak (12) and Hailey Tripp (10) scored in double figures for the Bees.
Medina 51, Highland 39
MEDINA 16 13 16 6 — 51
HIGHLAND 15 4 8 12 — 39
Medina — Madison Luthy 3-0-9, Sarah McKee 1-1-3, Lindsey Linard 5-0-10, Abby McMullen 2-1-6, Alexa Nau 2-0-4, Katie Neate 1-0-2, Alysen Dwyer 3-1-8, Elizabeth Stuart 2-2-7, Rowan McDonald 1-0-2, Hailey Seguin 0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-5-51.
Highland — Kendall McCormick 7-3-21, Lindsey Frederick 0-5-5, Alexis Furyes 1-0-2, Lauren Frederick 0-0-0, Tess Myers 2-0-6, Maddie Miller 2-0-5, Brooke Stuart 0-0-0, Taryn Kenny 0-0-0, Colleen Flannery 0-0-0. TOTALS: 12-8-39.
3-point goal — Luthy 3, McMullen, Dwyer, Stuart, McCormick 4, Myers 2, Miller. Rebounds — Medina 33 (McKee 11), Highland 28 (Furyes, McCormick 6). Assists — Medina 16 (McMullen 6), Highland 6 (Myers 4). Records — Medina (8-0), Highland (5-4). Junior varsity — Highland 39, Medina 30.