Falcons down Mustangs in Class B2 semifinal

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Jalin Cooper tries for a dunk over Health Sciences defenders Jalil Harvey (12) and Aquell Crosby (1). The action took place during the Mustangs Class B2 semifinal loss to the Falcons this evening at Buffalo State College.

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 2 March 2017 at 9:24 pm

Medina’s Johnny Salone puts up a shot as Tayvion Nelson tries for the block for Health Sciences.

Unable to overcome a whopping total of two dozen turnovers, top seeded Medina dropped a 55-37 decision to No. 4 Health Sciences in the semifinals of the Section VI Class B2 boys basketball tournament this evening at Buffalo State College.

Setting an ominous tone, the Health Sciences tight man to man pressure defense forced Medina into seven first quarter turnovers as the Falcons jumped out to a 16-9 lead they never relinquished.

“Their pressure defense was the difference for sure,” said Medina Coach Tom Forrestel. “They dictated everything all night long with their on the ball pressure.”

Kameron Briggs, Tyron Lott, TayVion Nelson and Josiah Haygood each scored four points to lead the Falcons balanced attack during that early stretch.

Unable to get any offense generated, the Mustangs managed only one field goal in the second period, a layup by Johnny Salone with two minutes remaining, as Health Sciences maintained a 10 point, 23-13, lead at the half.

Medina did cut the deficit to seven, 23-16, at the outset of the third quarter on a three by Tyrellis Atkins, but the Mustangs would get no closer.

The Falcons answered right back with a key turnover aided 11-0 run highlighted by back-to-back dunks off turnovers by Gaines and Nelson to quickly move back out to a commanding 18 point, 34-16, advantage.

The Mustangs countered with a dunk by Jalin Cooper and layups by Izaiah Rhim and Vincent Montague but still trailed by 16, 38-22, at the three-quarter mark.

Medina did make one last rally by opening the final period with a 9-3  run which included a jumper and a dunk by Cooper, to cut the deficit to 10, 41-31, but that was as close as the Mustangs would get down the stretch.

The Falcons put a firm lock on the victory and a trip to the B2 finals with a 6-0 run featuring back-to-back layups off turnovers by Lott to regain an eight point, 47-31, advantage with just 2:10 remaining.

Briggs finished with 16, Gaines 11, Lott 10 and Nelson 8 for the Falcons which will take an 18-4 record into Saturday’s B2 final against the winner of the No. 2 Olmsted vs. No. 3 Lackawanna semi.

Cooper shared game high honors with 16 for Medina which gives him a share of the Mustangs all-time single season scoring record of 458 first set by Jim Snyder during the 1988-89 season.

Montague added 7, Salone 6, Rhim 5 and Atkins 3 for the Niagara-Orleans League champion Mustangs which finish the season with a 17-5 record.

Medina’s Vincent Montague drives to drive around Health Sciences defender Kameron Briggs.