Medina Journal-Register — PENDLETON - Avenging a narrow (59-58) loss in last year’s final, Medina edged past Niagara Catholic 56-51 Friday in the championship game of the Pendleton Lions Club Starpoint Tournament.
Lonnie Taylor, who earned the tourney’s Most Valuable Player Award, poured in a career high 32 points to spearhead the Medina attack.
Dan Brown, who was named to the All-Tournament team, added nine and Jason Hellwig, who received the Sportsmanship Award eight as the Mustangs improve to 3-2 on the season.
“We wanted to carry the momentum over from the day before (a 54-47 opening round victory over Starpoint) defensively from the opening tip and overall we played pretty good defense and defense is what starts our offense,” Medina coach Tom Forrestel said.
Jonathan Jackson scored 14, Andrew Adamson 12 and Brian Thomas 10 for Niagara Catholic which did pull even once early in the final quarter but never had the lead.
Sparked by a quick eight point scoring burst by Taylor on two jumpers, a layup off a steal and a slam dunk off a steal, Medina grabbed a 10-2 lead in the first three minutes.
Late baskets by Brown and Cedric Griffith kept the Mustangs up by seven ,15-8, at the end of the opening period.
Back-to-cack layups by Taylor and Ben McPherson gave Medina its biggest lead of 10 at 27-17 five minutes into the second quarter but Niagara Catholic closed with a 7-0 run, ignited by a three by Craig Paige, to cut the Mustangs advantage to three, 27-24, at the half.
Despite going the first four minutes of the third quarter without a point, Medina maintained a 40-36 lead at the three-quarter mark as Taylor led the way with eight points on two layups, a short jumper and his third dunk of the night.
Niagara Catholic finally pulled even at 42-42 1:15 into the fourth quarter on a bucket by Jackson off a turnover but the Patriots could not gain the lead.