Medina's Corey Tripp lays the ball in over Shaker's Dante Benjamin during the first half. Aaron Josefczyk/Gazette
MEDINA — Turnovers were the issue in the first half, bricks followed in the second and rebounding was a glaring disadvantage throughout.
No aspect was bigger than the other Friday, but they ultimately added up to the Medina boys basketball team falling short of a notable upset with a 62-55 Greater Cleveland Conference loss to Shaker Heights.
The bottom line was the Bees (7-6, 3-4) lost for the fifth time in their last season games and the streaking Red Raiders (9-4, 5-2) won for the eighth time in nine outings after a 1-3 start.
The moral victory came in the form of a new-look, matchup 2-3 zone that kept Medina competitive despite being outrebounded 43-24.
“We’re going to have to do that this year,” said coach Chris Hassinger, whose team has gone from deny-everything man to more traditional man to now a bit of zone. “We have terrible mismatches.”
Despite not seeing full-court pressure until later in the game, the Bees were on a turnover-per-minute pace until six minutes remained in the third quarter. They led 49-44 when Shaker Heights flipped momentum for good by slapping on a 2-2-1 press that increased tempo and led to the Red Raiders taking a two-possession lead.
Missed field goals then prevented a mini-comeback, as Medina shot 8-for-27 in the second half. The nail-in-the-coffin sequence began with a wide-open missed 3-pointer down 56-53 with 2:02 left and ended when the Red Raiders’ DeMaris Conner blew by his defender well above the arc for a layup.
The Bees also had issues with active center Dante Benjamin and muscular forward Dakota Cochran. Benjamin had nine of his game-high 16 rebounds at the offensive end, while Cochran dominated inside with 15 of his 20 points and all of his seven rebounds in the second half.
“We had one stretch there where we were a little out of control offensively,” Hassinger said. “We turned it over, we didn’t get possession of the ball and we took bad shots. That was a big key in the game there.”
Medina again was led offensively by point guard Corey Tripp (15 points, 3 assists), while center Luke Hensley battled admirably en route to team highs of eight rebounds and three assists. Forward Kyle Szumski added 13 points, while Tayvion Gauthier (9 points) starred in the middle quarters and Spencer Aylward (8 points) kept the Bees from a complete collapse with two 3-pointers in the fourth.
Despite turning over the ball at a hair-pulling rate in the first half, the Bees made 14-of-23 field goals to enter halftime tied at 33. Szumski, Gauthier, Doug Sartain and Drew Hassinger each drilled a 3-pointer in the second quarter, but Shaker Heights countered with eight points from freshman Danny Young Jr. (13 points).
Also key to staying competitive was the matchup 2-3 that kept pace in Medina’s favor. That scheme had to be abandoned, however, once the Red Raiders took the lead.
If there was a moral victory, the effectiveness of the aggressive zone was it.
“I love our fight in our kids,” Hassinger said.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or email@example.com.
Shaker Heights 62, Medina 55
SHAKER HEIGHTS 13 20 13 16 — 62
MEDINA 12 21 11 11 — 55
Shaker Heights — DeMaris Conner 2-0-4, Dakota Cochran 8-3-20, Dante Benjamin 5-0-10, Danny Young Jr. 4-2-13, Shammah Scott 4-0-10, Harry Carroll 1-1-3, Che Johnson 1-0-2, Josh Ailiff 0-0-0, Eric Mudd 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-6-62.
Medina — Drew Hassinger 2-0-6, Kyle Szumski 6-0-13, Luke Hensley 0-0-0, Tayvion Gauthier 3-1-9, Corey Tripp 7-0-15, Spencer Aylward 3-0-8, Brandon Geschke 0-0-0, Sam Peacock 0-0-0, Doug Sartain 1-1-4. TOTALS: 22-2-55.
3-point goals — Young 3, Scott 2, Cochran, Hassinger 2, Gauthier 2, Aylward 2, Sartain, Tripp, Szumski. Rebounds — Shaker Heights 43 (Benjamin 16), Medina 24 (Hensley 8). Assists — Shaker Heights 11 (Benjamin 3), Medina 14 (Hensley, Tripp 3). Records — Shaker Heights (9-4, 5-2), Medina (7-6, 3-4). Junior varsity — Shaker Heights 60, Medina 54.