As the rowdy Newfane fans continued to bombard the Medina contingent with chants of questionable taste, the Mustangs fell behind early but battled back in the second half. Ultimately, the Mustangs could never gain the lead in the second half, and the Panthers held on.
Newfane won, 65-60, improving to 1-1 in league play after a rough 60-31 loss to Barker last week. The Mustangs suffer their first loss of the season and fall to 2-1 overall, 0-1 in league play.
For Medina coach Tom Forrestel, it was a matter of struggling to put it all together on both sides of the court.
"We just had a hard time getting five guys on the same page," Forrestel said. "We had too many turnovers, we didn't execute well enough defensively with our pressure, and we had trouble scoring in the half-court set. It's all circular; everything feeds off each other."
Newfane took an 8-6 lead after a back-and-forth first quarter where both teams struggled to find the bottom of the hoop. Medina junior point guard Jason Hellwig nailed a three-pointer, and versatile senior Munjie Brown converted a three-point play from inside, but that was all the Mustang scoring in the first eight minutes.
But after a slow-tempo first quarter, the pace of play picked up in the second eight minutes, with the Panthers using a 12-2 run midway through the frame to take a 32-20 lead at the break. Newfane senior Sean Costello was a force inside during the stretch, and it looked like Medina would have a hard time catching up.
The Mustangs, to their credit, didn't let up. Baskets by senior Kevin Arnold and Brown brought the margin to 35-25 quickly, and Medina used a 12-5 spurt midway through the quarter to help make it a five-point game after three frames, 44-39. The Newfane crowd was getting restless, as the Panthers' ability to generate easy layups had essentially subsided as the game wore on.
Two consecutive buckets by Brown made it 52-46 with 3:36 remaining, and after Kneeland responded with a layup, Brown answered again with a jumper that made it 54-48.
The Mustangs couldn't draw much closer, however, as Newfane regained its ability to find its big men down low for easy layups, just when the Panthers needed it most. A layup by Costello with just over a minute to play made the score 57-48, and although the Mustangs drained a couple of late three-pointers, Newfane held on.
With seven seconds to play and the score 61-58 Newfane — after Brown had cut the margin to three on a layup assisted by senior Cedric Griffith — Costello drained two free throws to put the game away.
Needless to say, Newfane coach Eric Klumpp was pleased with his team's ability to grind out a victory down the stretch.
Kneeland led Newfane with 23 points, while junior Kyle Burdick added 16 and Costello finished with 15. Brown led Medina with 20 points, while senior Kevin Arnold had 14 and Hellwig added 12. Ben McPherson had six points for the Mustangs, and Griffith added five.
Medina looks to get back on track Friday night, in a rivalry road contest at Roy-Hart.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Forrestel said.
CSAT 69, Albion 47
ALBION — Senior Ryan Fannin led the Purple Eagles with 11 points, but Albion dropped a league-opening contest to defending N-O champion CSAT on Tuesday evening.
Juniors Manny Thompson and Des Blackmon added eight points apiece for the Albion squad, which jumped out to a 14-13 lead after the first quarter but fell behind 30-21 at the intermission.
CSAT used a 21-12 spurt in the third quarter to pull away, as Jorge Brown led the Eagles with 14 points, while Dylanta Carson had 13 and Alex Santos added 12.
Juniors Clayton Stanton and Austin Loyd added six points apiece for the Purple Eagles, who fall to 0-1 in league play. Albion returns to action on Friday night, with a road trip to league rival Wilson.
Tapestry 65, Roy-Hart 42
Barker 67, Pembroke 31