As the rowdy Newfane fans continued to bombard the Medina contingent with chants of questionable taste, the Mustangs fell behind early but battled back in the second half. Ultimately, the Mustangs could never gain the lead in the second half, and the Panthers held on.
Newfane won, 65-60, improving to 1-1 in league play after a rough 60-31 loss to Barker last week. The Mustangs suffer their first loss of the season and fall to 2-1 overall, 0-1 in league play.
For Medina coach Tom Forrestel, it was a matter of struggling to put it all together on both sides of the court.
"We just had a hard time getting five guys on the same page," Forrestel said. "We had too many turnovers, we didn't execute well enough defensively with our pressure, and we had trouble scoring in the half-court set. It's all circular; everything feeds off each other."
Newfane took an 8-6 lead after a back-and-forth first quarter where both teams struggled to find the bottom of the hoop. Medina junior point guard Jason Hellwig nailed a three-pointer, and versatile senior Munjie Brown converted a three-point play from inside, but that was all the Mustang scoring in the first eight minutes.
But after a slow-tempo first quarter, the pace of play picked up in the second eight minutes, with the Panthers using a 12-2 run midway through the frame to take a 32-20 lead at the break. Newfane senior Sean Costello was a force inside during the stretch, and it looked like Medina would have a hard time catching up.
The Mustangs, to their credit, didn't let up. Baskets by senior Kevin Arnold and Brown brought the margin to 35-25 quickly, and Medina used a 12-5 spurt midway through the quarter to help make it a five-point game after three frames, 44-39. The Newfane crowd was getting restless, as the Panthers' ability to generate easy layups had essentially subsided as the game wore on.