Medina’s Unified Basketball team played with heart and character
The 2022 Medina Unified Basketball Team just finished their season with a three wins in seven games. But the record does not reflect the quality and accomplishments of this team.
The Mustangs started quickly, winning the first three games. They defeated Newfane, then Lewiston-Porter, and finally Lockport.
The next two games Medina played short-handed with their point guard and leading scorer out due to sickness. In the third game Medina lost to Akron by only two points.
In their regular season finale against Pembroke, and now without both their starting point guard and backup point guard, Medina lost 39-30. The players gave it their all without two of their best in the lineup.
Next came the playoffs. In what was probably their best performance of the year the Unified team met Williamsville North in the first round. Williamsville North had not lost a game in over two years and was the highest scoring Unified team in Western New York this year.
The Mustangs played right with the best team and even led after three quarters. A huge upset was in the making! However, with a roster of over 35 players, Will North was able to control the game. They dominated the last quarter to get their deserved win. Medina held them to their lowest point total of the year.
In the playoff consolation game with Olmsted the Medina team lost by one point. Olmsted made a layup just as the buzzer sounded. The kids deserved a better fate than a 3-4 record but they held their heads high. They rarely, if ever, complained.
There were a couple obvious differences this year compared to the Unified teams of the past.
Number one, no one complained. If someone made a mistake you would not see a teammate yelling at them. If a call went against them, they just played on. Competing was nice for them, but just playing was so much fun. And it showed!
Number two, the team performed as a basketball TEAM. Plays were run, and players knew their positions on both offense and defense. Each player had a role and they performed it to their best. It was an eye-opener and a joy to see this year.
There is one person responsible for the high quality and character of the 2022 squad, Coach Gary Scholes. What Coach Scholes did with the kids this year was amazing.
At first, there was doubt that Medina would even have a team due to a lack of players. Coach Scholes (and others, I am sure) started recruiting, asking many kids not already playing a sport if they would like to play basketball. The effort paid off with approximately 13 players on the squad – the largest Medina has ever had.
The level of play this year was light years ahead of any team in the past. Coach Scholes treated them like a varsity squad and the players acted like varsity players. The skill was not as high but the effort and desire surely was. Coach Scholes is why.
The job done by Gary Scholes this year can only be described as heart-warming. I hope he continues to coach in the future. He treats the kids fairly. He treats them as a team. He gets them to play basketball. The kids played so well!
Anyone who knows Coach Scholes knows that he is a kind, giving person. He coaches because he wants to. I do not know how much basketball he played when he was younger but he coaches like he has played for years.
In 2022, the Unified Basketball Team truly was “unified.” I thank Gary Scholes for this.
Mr. Tuohey is a father of a Medina Unified Basketball player.