LAKEWOOD — Medina sophomore Corey Tripp shined brightly on the biggest stage of his high school basketball career.
The dynamic point guard collected team highs of 18 points and three assists Wednesday, ably carrying the offensive load during the Bees’ 70-55 loss to St. Edward in the Lakewood Division I District semifinals.
Tripp was responsible for all but three of Medina’s baskets over the first 17 minutes — either making the shot himself or providing the assist — as the No. 4 seeds remained within striking range, down 40-29.
“Corey’s transition from being a player to the guy that can lead our team has been amazing,” Bees coach Chris Hassinger said. “He has gotten so tough mentally throughout this season, he’s playing like a veteran right now. It’s been something to see and is something we’re obviously excited about going forward.”
Tripp was the best player on the court throughout the first half, frustrating the top-seeded Eagles into throwing multiple defensive schemes at him. Though they failed to slow down his production, the pressure did force him to take two quick breaks.
With Tripp out of the game in the second quarter, St. Edward outscored Medina 13-0. When he was on the court during the opening half, the Bees held a 27-25 advantage.
“I was working hard and I wanted to keep this tournament run going for my seniors,” Tripp said, referring to 12th-grade teammates Drew Hassinger, Tay Gauthier and Daniel Terrion.
“I tried to create for myself at first, and once St. Ed’s sent help on me (defensively), I did everything I could to create for my teammates. Every one of us will do whatever it takes to help win games.”
Medina finally scored its first back-to-back hoops without Tripp’s involvement midway through the third quarter, getting as close as 42-35 before Grant Huffman and Demetrius Terry took over for the Eagles.
Tripp, who also grabbed four rebounds, went 7-for-13 from the field, 1-for-3 beyond the arc and 3-for-3 from the foul line in 26 minutes.
The Bees finished with a 16-9 record after winning nine of their final 11 games in a memorable surge.
“Everyone was doubting us, so we wanted to show them what we could do and prove them wrong,” said Tripp, whose father Tyrone also played the sport for Medina. “We’re all a family and we’re all in this together, trying to reach the same goals. That’s what makes this team special.”
Given the poise that Tripp displayed, he appears ready to assume a huge role next season.
Tripp said he wants to follow the team-first example set by Medina’s three seniors, which is music to his coach’s ears.
“Corey is a tough kid and he’s and a sponge for learning, which makes him a coach’s dream,” Hassinger said. “It’s such a blessing to have someone with his talent also having such a positive approach to the game. Most young players aren’t like that, but he questioned me maybe one time all year because he genuinely trusts what we’re doing.”