MEDINA — The bad news for the Medina boys basketball team is it played another lousy first half and lost for the sixth time in eight games, this one a 64-62 Greater Cleveland Conference setback against Euclid on Friday.
The good news is the Bees (7-7, 3-5), who trailed by as many as 14 in the second period and by 11 at halftime, shored up their defense and battled back to tie the game before the Panthers (8-5, 5-3) won it on an eight-foot floater by point guard Garvin Clarke (20 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists) with just under seven seconds to play.
“We just didn’t come out with energy,” said Medina small forward Kyle Szumski, who had a game-high 27 points, four rebounds and team-high three assists. “We have to play together and play harder.
“We played better defense in the second half and rebounded better, then we got in transition and hit some threes. I thought we had a chance (down the stretch). We just needed to get a stop, but we played really hard.”
The Bees also got great efforts from guard-playing-power-forward Drew Hassinger, who hit three 3-pointers en route to 15 points, sophomore point guard Corey Tripp, who overcame a 1-for-8 start from the field to finish with 13 points, and backup center Sam Peacock, who put up four points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds on a night when much smaller Medina was outrebounded 38-23.
“I’m real proud of our kids,” Medina coach Chris Hassinger said. “They worked hard and got back in the game.
“We were very positive (in the locker room) at the end of the game. We loved the fight in our guys. It does no good to beat them down.”
Medina trailed 58-47 with less than four minutes to go, but, due to a combination of better defense and some really silly Euclid turnovers, went on a 15-4 run to tie. Szumski had 11 points in the spurt, including a layup that made it 62-59 and, following an immediate steal by the Bees, a 27-foot 3-pointer that knotted the game with 53.2 seconds on the clock.
Euclid, which got 21 points, 12 boards and two assists from 6-foot-6 center Mario Lacey Jr., eight points, nine boards and three assists from 6-5 power forward Octavious Hardy and 12 points off the bench from 6-4 Latrayl Alexander, called timeout at that point.
The Panthers then ran the clock down to 17.6 seconds and called another timeout. Medina had a foul to give, but Clarke got around his defender and hit a runner in the lane.
“He’s such a spectacular player and he’s so athletic and quick,” Chris Hassinger said. “He just made a great play.”
The Bees called timeout after Clarke’s bucket, but the clock wound down to 3.9 seconds and no additional time was added. Medina then inbounded the ball to midcourt and called another timeout with 3.1 ticks on the clock.
When play resumed, Brandon Geschke inbounded along the left sideline to Szumski, who was bumped slightly by a defender and had the ball go off his leg and out of bounds with 1.7 seconds to go. Euclid, which still had a foul to give in that situation, then ran out the clock.
“I just turned and (the defender) was right there and it went off my leg,” Szumski said. “It could have been a foul, but it was a good play by him.”
Other than Szumski, there wasn’t much good about Medina in the first half. The Bees, who never led, fell behind 19-11 after the first period and were down 27-13 with 4:40 to go in the second.
That’s when Szumski went on a personal 9-0 run to get Medina within five, but the Panthers regrouped and led 35-24 at the break.
Szumski scored Medina’s last 11 points of the half, while his teammates went 1-for-12 in the second period and 4-for-23 over the first two quarters. He also scored the Bees’ first two points of the third period for a string of 13 in a row and 11 more in the fourth.
“He’s really asserted himself the last two games,” Chris Hassinger said. “I love it when kids ask you to get them the ball, and he’s been doing that. He’s starting to be that consistent guy we need every single game.”
Medina will host John Hay tonight in a makeup game that was originally scheduled for Sunday, only to be postponed by snow.
The Medina junior varsity won 61-56 in overtime behind 19 points from Matt Spatny, 13 from Christian Howard and 12 from Jajuan Jackson.
Contact Rick Noland at rnoland@medina-gazette. Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.
Euclid 64, Medina 62
EUCLID 19 16 16 13 — 64
MEDINA 11 13 17 21 — 62
Euclid — Octavious Hardy 4-0-8, Reggie Priah 1-0-2, Mario Lacey Jr. 10-1-21, Ke’Saun Key 0-1-1, Garvin Clarke 9-1-20, Latray Alexander 4-1-12, Tyrese Duckworth 0-0-0, Reggie Watts 0-0-0. TOTALS: 28-4-64.
Medina — Kyle Szumski 8-5-27, Drew Hassinger 6-0-15, Luke Hensley 0-0-0, Tay Gauthier 0-0-0, Corey Tripp 6-0-13, Doug Sartain 0-0-0, Spencer Aylward 0-2-2, Brandon Geschke 0-1-1, Sam Peacock 2-0-4, Jack Hagan 0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-8-62.
3-point goals — Alexander 3, Clarke, Szumski 4, Hassinger 3, Tripp. Rebounds — Euclid 38 (Lacey 12), Medina 23 (Peacock 6). Assists — Euclid 15 (Clarke 6), Medina 7 (Szumski 3). Records — Euclid (8-5, 5-3), Medina (7-7, 3-5). Junior varsity — Medina 61, Euclid 56 (OT).