Medina Journal-Register — MIDDLEPORT — After a tough loss at Newfane earlier in the week, the Medina boys basketball team looked to possess the ball better and play smarter in Friday night’s Niagara-Orleans League contest at rival Roy-Hart.
Mission accomplished for coach Tom Forrestel and the Mustangs. Seniors Kevin Arnold and Munjie Brown led the way, and Medina withstood a late Rams surge to earn a 57-49 victory. Medina improves to 1-1 in league play, 3-1 overall, while Roy-Hart falls to 1-1 in the league, 1-4 overall.
“We were able to keep our composure tonight,” Forrestel said. “Even when Roy-Hart started making the comeback, our guys didn’t show any signs of emotional stress. We made smart passes, controlled the ball well, and stayed disciplined.”
Medina jumped out to a 33-24 halftime lead on the strength of nine points from senior Ben McPherson and eight from Arnold, before senior Alex Stoddard helped lead the Rams on a second-half comeback.
Stoddard finished the night with 22 points, making several key shots down the stretch to help Roy-Hart close within 50-49, with just over two minutes to play.
Medina maintained a 50-38 lead after three quarters, but the Rams opened the final quarter on an 11-0 run that included a pretty floater by Stoddard off an inbound, which made the score 50-45 midway through the quarter.
A drive-and-shoot play by Brown made the score 52-49 Medina with a 90 seconds remaining, and two free throws by Arnold gave the Mustangs a five-point advantage. Medina closed the game with strong defensive pressure, keeping the Rams flustered and unable to find a clear look at a three-pointer.
McPherson finished with 15 points for Medina, while Arnold finished with 12 and Brown added 10. Junior Jason Hellwig added nine points, and senior Cedric Griffith had eight.
Sophomore Andy Xapsos had 11 points for the Rams, who return to action next Friday in a non-league contest at Alden.