STRONGSVILLE — The stars aligned for 16 minutes of mystifying basketball.
With senior wing Delaney Cullen and junior center Emma Bobey leading the charge Wednesday, the Medina girls basketball team played to its maximum potential in the second half and upset Strongsville 47-32 in Greater Cleveland Conference action.
The Bees (7-11, 5-6) made 5-of-6 shots during a 12-4 run that put away the Mustangs (10-8, 5-6) — Cullen had a hand in all but two points — while Bobey held future full-scholarship player Lindsey Thall to a season-low-tying four points on 2-for-12 shooting with some help from backup Lindsey Linard.
Medina, which had its best offensive output since Jan. 4 (55 points vs. Euclid), also got revenge for a 37-21 loss on Dec. 17.
“Proud,” Cullen said. “This whole week, all we wanted to do was get them back for what they did to us the first time we played them. Every single person had that fire and desire, and we were hungry.
“We wanted to come out, listen to our coach (Karen Kase) and stay focused. We knew what we had to do. We did it, and for my last time ever playing Strongsville, I can’t stop smiling.”
Using defense and rebounding, Medina led 20-16 at halftime but was showing signings of breaking through after a turnover-prone opening 12 minutes. The Bees were getting solid scoring opportunities by holding onto the ball and remaining patient, setting the tone for good things to come.
Everything clicked midway through the third quarter, as Linard made a baseline jumper and Cullen (12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) found Bobey (12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks) to make the score 29-18. Thall answered with an inside bucket, but Cullen zipped a pass to Abby McMullen for a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the period and Medina led 32-20.
Cullen then kept her teammates organized and the Bees kept rolling, as the Transylvania recruit went driving layup, assist to Bobey, driving layup and 1-of-2 free throws to begin the fourth. Cullen then scored again with 3:52 left, putting Medina into celebration mode with the score 43-24.
Strongsville had no answers despite the best efforts of rim-attacking power forward Marnae Holland (game-high 15 points).
“We knew we were going to do what we had to do to get the win,” Cullen said. “Sometimes with their pressure it can get really hectic and chaotic, but (Kase) kept re-enforcing, ‘Just breathe, breathe. Calm down. Know what you know how to do and things will play out.’”
The other half of the winning equation was defense, as the 5-foot-11 Bobey bodied up the 6-2 Thall and kept the junior with interest from Division II national power Ashland from getting any momentum.
Thall tried to get going with 3-point attempts but went 0-for-6. Bobey also consistently denied post-entry angles and cut off Thall from drop-steps or even simple baby hooks.
Bobey added a team-high-tying six rebounds as Medina won the category 34-19.
“I knew she could shoot threes from anywhere — NBA threes, regular,” Bobey said. “She’s also a great inside player, and I knew I had to be physical with her and keep a hand in her face at all times.
“I think I and everyone else on the team did a good job of not losing track of her and staying with her all through the game.”
Medina had a good feeling entering the night after what Kase described as a good week of practice. That doesn’t always translate, but in the second half the Bees looked nothing like the team that has failed to reach 40 points six times this season.
With the toughest part of the regular season behind it, Medina is looking to build momentum for what could be a wide-open Valley Forge Division I District.
“We have to bring the same energy we did tonight and keep practicing hard,” Bobey said.
Payton Beech scored 14 of her game-high 17 points in the second half as the Bees’ junior varsity won 46-40.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or email@example.com.
Medina 47, Strongsville 32
MEDINA 11 9 12 15 — 47
STRONGSVILLE 9 7 4 12 — 32
Medina — Delaney Cullen 4-3-12, Amanda Holzman 1-5-7, Emma Bobey 5-2-12, Anna Marie Smith 2-0-5, Katie Neate 0-2-2, Lindsey Linard 1-0-2, Abby McMullen 1-0-3, Madison Luthy 0-0-0, Abby Teske 1-0-2, Alexa Nau 0-0-0, Maddie Miller 1-0-2, Avaya Stockman-Bell 0-0-0, Payton Beech 0-0-0, Hailey Seguin 0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-12-47.
Strongsville — Ashley Peters 2-0-4, Marnae Holland 7-1-15, Lindsey Thall 2-0-4, Brielle Zbydniewski 0-1-1, Drew Robinson 0-0-0, Abbi Moore 0-0-0, Madison Pavone 1-0-2, Mackenzie Matluk 0-0-0, Emily Lesniak 1-0-2, Maddy Humbach 0-0-0, Julia Fine 0-0-0, Grace Borovich 0-1-1, Kaitlyn King 1-1-3. TOTALS: 14-4-32.
3-point goals — Cullen, Smith, McMullen. Rebounds — Medina 34 (Bobey, Cullen 6), Strongsville 19 (Lesniak, Peters, Robinson 3). Assists — Medina 11 (Cullen 4), Strongsville 9 (Zbydniewski 3). Records — Medina (7-11, 5-6), Strongsville (10-8, 5-6). Junior varsity — Medina 46, Strongsville 40.