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Medina needs late surge to edge past Dunkirk and advance to Class B1 semifinals

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 23 February 2018 at 9:39 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Jalin Cooper goes by Dunkirk’s Devaun Farnham-DeJesus during the Mustangs narrow sectional win over the visiting Marauders this evening.

Putting together a clutch last minute scoring burst, No. 3 seed Medina trimmed visiting No. 6 Dunkirk 67-60 this evening in the quarterfinal round of the Section VI Class B1 boys basketball playoffs.

Trailing 60-58, Medina rallied to outscore Dunkirk 9-0 over the final minute and 20 seconds to earn the victory and advance to the semifinals.

Medina pulled even at 60-60 on a rebound bucket by Izaiah Rhim with 1:18 remaining and then Jalin Cooper took over the game.

Cooper put Medina back on top to stay at 62-60 with a jumper at the 1:04 mark.  He boosted the lead to four with a basket off a turnover with 30 seconds to go. Then, after blocking a Dunkirk shot at the 21 second mark and grabbing a key rebound with 10 seconds to go, he put a lock on the tense victory with three clutch free throws.

Medina’s Izaiah Rhim drives to the basket.

Cooper finished with a game high 28 points as Rhim had 12, Brendan Luthart 11, Brian Fry 8, Tyler Chinn 4 and Mason Lewis and Nate Sherman 2 each.

Dunkirk likewise had a trio of double figure scorers as Devaun Farnham-DeJesus tallied 18, Darnell Butts 17 and Tyrese Kristian-Johnson 14.

Medina grabbed a slender 20-18 lead at the end of the first quarter as Cooper scored 10, Rhim and Chinn 4 and Fry 2 in the early going.  Farnham-DeJesus scored 7, Kristian-Johnson 6 and Butts 5 for Dunkirk during that stretch.

The Mustangs increased the lead to eight, 39-31, at half-time by closing the second period with a 13-5 run to break away from a 26-26 tie. Threes by Luthart and Fry highlighted that uprising which also included a three-point play and a jumper off a turnover by Cooper and a layup by Lewis.

Medina upped the advantage to 10, 41-31 on a rebound basket by Rhim to open the third period.

However, Dunkirk got right back in the game by answering back with a big 14-5 run to slice the deficit to just one at 46-45.  Kristian-Johnson scored 6 and Issiah Velez 5 to lead that Marauders rally.

The Mustangs did open up a little breathing room at 49-45, as Luthart hit a big three at the buzzer to close the third period.

Medina maintained a narrow 58-55 lead with three minutes to go after a layup by Rhim and a jumper by Cooper.

Dunkirk though came battling back one last time to take the lead for what proved to be the final time at 60-58 with 1:43 remaining after a three by Butts and two free throws by Velez.

However, the last surge and the victory belonged to Medina as Cooper had 7 points, 2 rebounds and a block to highlight the Mustangs decisive last ditch 9-0 run.

Medina will next face No. 2 seed Olean in the semifinals on February 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Buffalo State College. Olean defeated No. 7 City Honors 62-54.

The other semi will have No. 4 Newfane vs. No. 1 Lackawanna on February 27 at 8:15 p.m. at Buffalo State. Newfane defeated No. 13 Fredonia 66-41 and Lackawanna defeated No. 9 CSAT 69-52 in tonight’s other quarterfinals.

In a Class B2 quarterfinal, No. 5 Wilson lost to No. 4 Health Sciences 64-36.

Medina’s Mason Lewis goes in for a layup as Darnell Butts tries to block for Dunkirk.