Medina cagers nip Albion in thriller

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 16 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Brennan Zinkievich (20) takes a shot as Clayton Stanton (31) defends for Albion during the Mustangs thrilling one point win over the visiting Purple Eagles this evening.

Capping wild second half filled with huge changes in momentum, Medina rallied in the final seconds to nip visiting rival Albion 60-59 this evening in a key Niagara-Orleans League boys basketball game.

Up by as many as 14 midway through the third quarter and down by as many as 10 midway through the final period, Medina pulled out the win in the final seven seconds on a game tying three by Justin Morgan followed by a game winning free throw by Brennan Zinkievich.

“Everybody got their money’s worth in this one,” exclaimed a happy and relieved Medina Coach Tom Forrestel.

The victory boosts Medina’s N-O record to 4-1 and keep the Mustangs within a game of the top spot while Albion slips to 3-2.

Jason Hellwig took game high scoring honors with 23 for Medina as Zinkieivch netted 16, Morgan 15 and Dylan Lewis 6.

Austin Loyd scored 18 and Manny Thompson 14 to lead the way for Albion. Clayton Stanton added 8, Alex Bison 7, Tommy Mattison and Tyler Rotoli 3 and Des Blackmon, Gary Moore and Manwell Taylor 2 each for the Purple Eagles.

Albion’s Austin Loyd (2) goes in for a shot as Zinkieivich (20) and Devonte Howard (23) defend for Medina.

Breaking away from a 10-10 deadlock at the end of a sea-saw first quarter, Medina put together a 19-12 second period scoring surge to open up a 29-22 lead at the half. Hellwig led that Mustangs uprising with 12 points on three layups, two rebound buckets and a pair of free throws.

Keeping the momentum, Medina opened the third period with a 9-2 run to stretch the advantage to 14 at 38-24. A three by Morgan capped that spurt which also included a jumper and a layup by Zinkievich.

However, Albion came battling back as the game’s momentum shifted 180 degrees in a span of less than three minutes.

Medina’s David Garrow (21) tries for a rebound along with the Albion duo of Manny Thompson (14) and Stanton (31).

Catching fire, the Purple Eagles closed the period with a huge 19-2 scoring surge to rally into a 43-40 lead at the three-quarter mark. Threes by Loyd both ignited and capped that uprising which also included a three and a layup by Bison along with layups by Stanton, Loyd, Taylor and a jumper by Thompson.

Keeping the momentum, the Purple Eagles then opened the decisive final prior with a 10-3 run to stretch the advantage to 10 at 53-43 with 5:30 remaining. Back-to-back threes by Loyd and Thompson capped that surge which was started by layups by Stanton and Loyd.

“Credit to Albion they made a lot of shots,” said Forrestel of the Purple Eagles big rally. “They shot lights out and made the most of their possessions.”

Medina’s Jason Hellwg (2) looks to pass as Stanton (31) defends for Albion.

Now it was Medina’s turn to rally as threes by Lewis and Morgan helped pull the Mustangs back to within three at 53-50 with 3:30 remaining.

Albion countered with a three by Loyd and a layup by Thompson to extend the lead back to seven at 59-52 with just under two minutes remaining but the game’s final eight points and the narrow win would belong to Medina.

Two free throws each by Hellwig and Morgan pulled Medina back to within three at 59-56 with 1:15 remaining.

Albion’s Alex Bison tries for a layup as Zinkievich (20) tries to block.

The teams traded turnovers in the final hectic 35 seconds before Morgan hit a three with seven seconds to go to knot the contest at 59-59. Fouled on the play, he missed the free throw but the Mustangs came away with the ball and Zinkieivch was fouled. Capitalizing on the opportunity, he made the first free throw for a 60-59 Mustangs lead and what proved to be the game winning point with five seconds remaining.

Albion did get the ball back up court but the Purple Eagles misfired on a shot at the buzzer.

“When we we down by 10 I called timeout and told the guys to keep their heads up because they were still in it,” said Forrestel. “And they believed they could do it. We got some rebounds  and hit some threes. Dylan hit one and then Justin hit one to help get us back and then Justin hit the tying three. That was a great shot.”

Medina’s Justin Morgan (3) and Albion’s Tommy Mattison (1) battle for control of the ball.

Wilson 68, Barker 35

Wilson remained undefeated at 4-0 with a 68-35 win over Barker which slips to 0-4.

Kyle Bradley scored 18, Alex Fox 13, Evan Shank 12 and Joseph Littere 10 for Wilson which led 13-8 after one quarter and 39-11 at the half.

Thomas Callaghan scored 11, Christopher Sweeney 8 and Kyle Secore 6 for Barker.