Medina Journal-Register — PENDLETON - Rebounding strongly from a sluggish first half and a 20 point deficit, Medina rallied to defeat the host Spartans 54-47 Thursday in the opening round of the Pendleton Lions Club’s Starpoint Tournament.
Trailing by 20, 38-18, at the half, Medina turned up the defensive intensity in the third quarter putting together a 15-1 run to get back in the game. The Mustangs then completed the huge comeback by outscoring the Spartans 21-8 in the fourth quarter to claim a spot in tonight’s championship game.
“That first half was so frustrating it was honestly tough to watch. We just came out flat without any enthusiasm at both ends of the court,” Medina coach Tom Forrestel. “So I really challenged them at half-time and they responded. Defensively we played much better and it is our defense that keys our offense. That is what we’re capable of.”
Lonnie Taylor scored a game high 25 points, Dan Brown added 15 and Cedric Griffith 10 to lead the attack for Medina which faces Niagara Catholic in tonight’s 6:30 p.m. championship game.
Andrew Rankie scored 13 and Stan Speaker 12 to lead Starpoint.
Starpoint had the hot hand early as two three’s by Speaker along with eight points by Rankie sparked the Spartans out to a 16-6 first quarter lead.
Back-to-back three’s by Speaker and Julian Mott upped the advantage to 18, 38-20, midway through the second quarter. Another three by Speaker helped boost the Spartan’s lead to 20, 38-18 at the half.
However, Medina came battling back. Using a more aggressive defense to ignite the offense, the Mustangs opened the third quarter with an 11-0 run, highlighted by a jumper and a rebound bucket by Taylor and a layup by Griffith. Two more layups by Brown then capped the 15-1 period pulling the Mustangs to within six, 39-33, at the three-quarter mark.