Medina Journal-Register — PENDLETON — It wasn’t an aesthetically pleasing sight for the majority of the championship game at the Pendleton Lions Club boys basketball tournament at Starpoint HS on Saturday afternoon.
Shots were missed, and turnovers were aplenty. Whenever one team seemed to take over the advantage, sloppy mistakes tended to even things out.
But when the dust settled, host Starpoint emerged victorious by a 42-38 margin over Medina. Sophomore standout Brock Kroening paced the Spartans with 12 points, after scoring 20 in a semifinal win over South Park, en route to being named tournament MVP.
The Spartans improve to 4-3 overall, while the Mustangs fall to 4-2 in what has been a mostly successful season up to this point.
“It feels really good to win our own tournament, especially with playing games on back-to-back nights,” said Starpoint coach Ben Scaffidi, after his team won the event for the first time. “We played good team defense, and we had just enough scoring to get it done.”
Medina started the game strong, taking a 6-2 lead on baskets by senior Ben McPherson, senior Kevin Arnold and junior David Garrow, as the Spartans struggled to make shots early. Starpoint got going midway through the quarter, scoring six straight points to take the lead, and the margin was 10-8 Starpoint after the first eight minutes.
Medina struggled to take care of the ball early in the second quarter, as baskets by juniors Dennis Held and Ian Emerick helped give the Spartans a 19-11 advantage, despite a nice floater made by Mustang senior Munjie Brown.
After the game, Scaffidi credited Emerick and sophomore Ben Walters for providing the necessary defensive pressure to wreak havoc on the Mustang offensive attack.
Medina battled back late in the half on a deep three-pointer by junior Jason Hellwig, but Starpoint maintained a 22-17 advantage at intermission. Kroening had nine points in the first half for Starpoint, while Arnold led Medina with five.