MEDINA — Corey Tripp was sick Friday — in every sense of the word.
Fighting off an illness that kept him out of a game earlier in the week, the point guard lifted the Medina boys basketball team on his back when the Bees needed him most and led them to a 74-72 upset over Greater Cleveland Conference champion Mentor.
“We weren’t even going to start him tonight because he had the flu,” Medina coach Chris Hassinger said. “He hasn’t even had a practice since Monday. He sat out Tuesday and he hasn’t even practiced. He was laying on his couch sick. He didn’t practice Wednesday, didn’t practice Thursday. We weren’t going to start him today and he said, ‘I think I can go.’”
Did he ever.
With the game tied twice in the final minute, the sophomore twice went coast-to-coast and drew fouls, making four free throws to will the Bees (13-8, 7-6) over the 13th-ranked Cardinals (16-2, 11-2).
“The thing about Corey is he’s got things you can’t teach,” Hassinger said. “He’s only scratching the surface. I thought tonight was one of his best games of making guys better.
“We’re trying to get him where he’s not using so many dribbles to make plays. When you have a kid that can take three or four dribbles and go coast-to-coast, that’s pretty special.”
The two plays were near mirror images of each other.
The one that mattered most came after Luke Floriea (27 points, 6 assists) tied things with 12.6 seconds remaining.
Tripp (17 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) took a pass from Kyle Szumski (16 points) and dribbled the length of the floor before Chad Rogers (14 points, 6 rebounds) fouled him with 1.7 seconds remaining.
That came on the heels of Tripp getting fouled by Caleb Piks with 23.9 seconds left after Floriea missed a runner in the lane and Szumski rebounded.
“This win was big, but we’re just trying to get ready for the tournament,” Tripp said. “I was just trying to win.”
While his postgame talks need a little fine-tuning, his game against the Cardinals didn’t.
“He was big tonight,” Szumski said. “He was coming off of sickness, so it was good to see him bounce back. He did a lot of things for us tonight.”
Not to be overlooked was the play of Szumski, who had eight points in each half. The 6-foot-3 junior led the team in rebounds (12) and assists (6) and was a stalwart defensively.
With 1.2 seconds remaining and Mentor with the ball on the sideline near Medina’s student body, the Cardinals got two cracks at tying or going ahead.
Alex Edwards (13 points) inbounded the ball toward Floriea on the right. Luke Hensley jumped the pass and punched it back at Edwards, who caught the ball as time seemingly expired.
In a rarely — and correctly — called play, referees were quick to point out that a defensive player can’t punch the ball.
Edwards got the ball back at the same spot and tossed it into Floriea, who heaved it from just inside half court with Szumski’s hand in his face. The ball went wide left off the backboard.
“Kyle has taken it to the next level just with leadership and confidence,” Hassinger said. “He’s not a very vocal kid, but he’s starting to say, ‘Give me the ball.’ (Tripp) said the same thing, and I’m a player’s coach. Kids know what’s going on out there better than me sometimes. I’ll put them in the right place to be successful. When they see stuff, they tell me what to do.”
The state champion Medina boys soccer team was honored at halftime, complete with names announced and a highlight reel on the video board.
Cael Gray hit a layup with 2.1 seconds left to lift Mentor to a 60-58 win over Medina in the junior varsity game. The Bees got solid efforts from Matt Spatny (20 points), Landon Kistler (19) and Jajuan Jackson (14).
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.
Medina 74, Mentor 72
MENTOR 18 14 23 17 — 72
MEDINA 14 23 19 18 — 74
Mentor — Alex Edwards 5-0-13, Chad Rogers 7-0-14, Mason Tribusky 3-3-10, Luke Chicone 0-2-2, Luke Floriea 9-5-27, Caleb Piks 3-0-6, Ian Kipp 0-0-0. TOTALS: 27-10-72.
Medina — Drew Hassinger 3-2-10, Kyle Szumski 5-4-16, Dan Terrion 3-0-6, Tay Gauthier 4-0-11, Corey Tripp 3-9-15, Brandon Geschke 1-0-2, Luke Hensley 2-0-5, Spencer Aylward 3-0-6, Doug Sartain 1-0-3. TOTALS: 25-15-74.
3-point goals — Floriea 4, Edwards 3, Trubisky, Gauthier 3, Szumski 2, Hassinger 2, Sartain, Hensley. Rebounds — Mentor 21 (Rogers 6), Medina 23 (Szumski 12). Assists — Mentor 15 (Floriea 6), Medina 16 (Szumski 6). Records — Mentor (16-2, 11-2), Medina (13-8, 7-6). Junior varsity — Mentor 60, Medina 58.