Medina Journal-Register — Last season, the Medina boys basketball team had a very successful holiday break on the court, winning two games to capture the title at the Pendleton Lions Club Tournament hosted by Starpoint.
So it is no surprise that the Mustangs are returning to Starpoint for this year’s event, hoping to defend their title. Medina starts its defense tonight, in a 5 p.m. contest against Orchard Park.
The tournament continues with a contest between Starpoint and South Park at 6:30 p.m., with the winners to face off at 5 p.m. Saturday in the championship. Saturday’s consolation game is slated to tip off at 3:30 p.m.
Coach Tom Forrestel’s Mustangs carry a 3-1 overall record into the tournament, including a 1-1 mark in Niagara-Orleans League play. Medina opened the season with non-league victories over Oakfield-Alabama and Burgard, before falling at Newfane 65-60 and winning at Roy-Hart by a 57-49 margin.
So far this young season, Medina is led by dynamic senior Munjie Brown, who is averaging 13 points per game. Senior Ben McPherson averages 10.1 points per outing, while Kevin Arnold averages 10 and Jason Hellwig nine.
Last year, Medina defeated Starpoint 54-47 in the semifinal round before topping Niagara Catholic, 56-51, for the championship.
Although the Orchard Park squad is a Class AA school, the Quakers have struggled to this point in the season and pose a golden opportunity for Medina to pull off a David-over-Goliath type of surprise.
Led by first-year head coach Justin Abel after the retirement of longtime coach Bob Rumschik, Orchard Park carries a 1-3 overall mark into the tournament — with a win over West Seneca East offset by losses to Iroquois, Alden and West Seneca West. The Quakers went winless in league play last season.
Orchard Park is led by junior big man Matt Perla, who dominates the glass and can be a threat when his shooting is on target. Quaker senior Cam Murray has talent and worked zealously over the summer with team assistants to improve his game, but can become flustered at times in game situations.
As recently as Monday, Abel was not aware that his team’s opening-round opponent would be Medina, while Forrestel attended an Orchard Park game earlier this season and should be well-versed in the Quakers’ tendencies.
Medina and Orchard Park will play a JV contest earlier in the day. The undefeated Quaker JV squad, led by coaches Greg Michael and Kyle Perla, has been an absolute force so far this season, blowing out opponents by 30-to-50 point margins.
Elsewhere in holiday tournament action, the Albion boys team will face Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. this evening in the opening round of the Batavia Lions Club Tournament at Genesee Community College. The tournament consolation and championship games are slated for Dec. 30.
The Purple Eagles, 2-2 overall, are led by Des Blackmon (11.5 ppg) and Manny Thompson (10.3 ppg).
Coach Lucian Price’s Albion girls squad (1-3) will face Wheatland-Chili tonight in the first round of the Wheatland-Chili Tournament. The consolation and championship games are set for Saturday.
Medina 41, CSAT 29
MEDINA — Freshman Emily Kams led the Lady Mustangs with 14 points, as coach Ken Haak’s Medina squad surprised CSAT for its first win of the season in a Niagara-Orleans League contest on Monday afternoon.
The game, originally scheduled for Dec. 13, was a make-up contest after the original was postponed due to inclement weather across the region.
Senior Taylor Miller had 10 points for Medina, while junior Nicole Blount had nine.
Medina jumped out to a 17-10 lead after the first quarter, before the gritty CSAT squad battled back with a 7-2 second quarter, making the score 19-17 Medina at the half.
CSAT opened up a 25-21 lead early in the third, and the score was tied at 27 with just eight minutes remaining. The Lady Mustangs came through with a 14-2 spurt in the fourth quarter to earn the victory.
Medina improves to 1-2 in league play, 1-5 overall, while CSAT remains winless in the league at 0-3.