By Mike Wertman
Medina Journal-Register — OAKFIELD — Putting together a big stretch run, Medina rallied to defeat Oakfield-Alabama 66-57 in overtime Monday in the non league season opener.
Trailing by 11 with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Medina erupted for an 18-7 run down the stretch, capped off by a dramatic three-point basket by Jason Hellwig with just two seconds remaining, to knot the score at 50-50 sending the contest into overtime.
Keeping the momentum, the Mustangs then outpointed the Hornets 17-6 in the overtime stanza to pull away to the victory. Lonnie Taylor, who tallied eight points during the fourth quarter uprising, added eight more in the four minute overtime to spearhead the Mustangs attack.
“We used a lot of guys in the first three-quarters and that was the plan because we want to see what we have and what kind of depth we have,” Medina coach Tom Forrestel said. “So down the stretch the group we had in there was fresh and that made a big difference.”
Taylor finished with a game high 23 points. Hellwig netted 15, Ben McPherson 10, Danny Brown nine, Devonte Howard six and Adam Hoot three.
Hunter Spiotta scored 17 for Oakfield-Alabama which also got 12 each from Austin Hamm and Ryan Emery.
Plagued by 10 early turnovers, Medina saw Oakfield-Alabama jump out to a 12-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Mustangs did battle back to within three, 21-18, at the half as McPherson hit a pair of buckets and Hellwig added his second three of the half.
Medina then rallied into the lead twice early in the third quarter, first at 22-21 on a jumper by McPherson and again at 24-23 on a rebound bucket by Taylor. However, the Hornets countered with a 14-4 run to close the period, including two three’s and a jumper by Spiotta, to regain nine point, 37-28, advantage at the three-quarter mark.
The Hornets stretched the advantage to 11, 43-32, with five minutes to go after back-to-back buckets by Chase Manzella and Hamm but the last surge belonged to the Mustangs.
Three buckets from close range by Taylor, along with a rebound basket by Brown and a three by Hellwig, pulled Medina within three, 46-43 with 1:30 remaining.
Spiotta countered with his second three in a row to boost the Oakfield lead to six, 49-43, but Medina refused to fold.
Howard scored on a jumper and then,after the Hornets missed on a free throw opportunity, Taylor tallied on a lay-up pulling Medina within two, 49-47, with 13 seconds to go. The Hornets in fact missed five of six free trow attempts down the stretch opening the door for the Mustangs comeback bid.
Spiotta hit one of two from the foul line to give the Hornets a 50-47 lead with nine seconds remaining but Hellwig answered with a clutch three with just two seconds to sending the game into overtime knotted at 50-50.
There were three lead changes and a tie early in the overtime before Medina took the led for good at 59-55 on back-to-back layups by Taylor.
The Mustangs closed out the win by tallying the final seven points on layups by Taylor and McPherson, a free throw by Hellwig and a rebound bucket at the buzzer by Taylor.
“I was really pleased,” Forrestel said. “Every group we put out there held their own. It was a nice team win.”
Medina next hosts Burgard in another non league contest on Dec. 14 before opening the Niagara-Orleans League season at CSAT on Dec. 20.