Medina Journal-Register — PENDLETON — David met Goliath on Friday afternoon at Starpoint HS.
And as can be the case sometimes, David — in this case, Medina — found a way to come out on top.
Senior Munjie Brown led the Mustangs with 13 points, including several key baskets down the stretch, and Medina defeated Orchard Park by a 49-37 margin in the opening round of the Pendleton Lions Club Tournament, hosted by Starpoint.
With the win, Medina advanced to face host Starpoint in the tournament championship on Saturday.
Although Medina is a Class B school and Orchard Park is Class AA, coach Tom Forrestel and the Mustangs weren’t the least bit intimidated by their large school opponent on Friday.
Forrestel told his team before the game that the Quakers were certainly beatable — he scouted Orchard Park earlier this season — and the Mustangs went out and executed.
“We made some halftime adjustments, buttoned up defensively and got out in transition,” Forrestel said. “It was a matter of defense leading to offense.”
Medina opened up a 26-21 halftime lead on the strength of six points each from Brown and fellow senior Kevin Arnold. Orchard Park clawed within 30-27 on baskets by junior Matt Perla, senior Tyler Heath and junior Jeff Biddle, making it anyone’s game as the third quarter neared its close.
But the Mustangs responded with a game-defining 17-6 run that removed any doubts regarding who would emerge victorious. The burst started with a nothing-but-net three-pointer by junior Jason Hellwig, and included three post-up buckets by Brown.
The run concluded with a fast-break bucket by Hellwig, assisted by Brown, which put Medina up 47-33 with under four minutes to play. Orchard Park decided not to press down the stretch, and the Mustangs held on.
“We outhustled them,” said Medina junior David Garrow of the game-defining run. “It usually takes us awhile to get going, and this time we needed a halftime pep talk from Coach. We need to get the intensity going earlier in games, but today it worked out.”