Mustangs had the right mix for title quest

Staff Reports Posted 28 February 2016 at 12:00 am

Photo by Bruce Landis – Compiling a near perfect 13-1 record, Medina captured the Niagara-Orleans League boys championship this season for the first time in seven years. In front are Mason Lewis, Dylan Lewis, Justin Morgan and Michael Cardone. In the middle row are Brad McPherson, Ronnie Koonce, Tyrellis Atkins, Tyler Howard and Daryl Haynes. In back are Assistant Coach Adam Hellwig, Izaiah Rhim, Jalin Cooper, Tyler Ames, Johnny Salone, Jared Zinkievich, Manager David McRae and Coach Tom Forrestel.

Getting solid contributions from players at all four grade levels, seniors to freshmen, helped key Medina to a successful Niagara-Orleans League championship quest this season ending a seven year title drought.

“I’ve never had that where all four grades contributed like that. It’s neat and pretty special,” said Coach Tom Forrestel. “We really had a nice mix of experience, leadership and youth. We went nine deep.”

Medina compiled a 13-1 record to win the N-O title for the first time since the 2008-09 season. It also marked the first time the Mustangs have claimed sole possession of the N-O crown since the 1988-89 season when Medina went 14-0.

“It’s a real nice accomplishment and I’m super proud of the group,” said Forrestel whose Mustang squads have now claimed the N-O title four times.

And well reflecting the contributions the Mustangs got from all four grade levels are the team’s season statistics.

Sophomore Jalin Cooper led Medina in scoring with 340 points (15.5 average). He averaged a double-double by also grabbing off 225 rebounds (10.2) ave, and had 56 assists and 47 steals.

Senior Tyler Ames led the Mustangs on the boards with 270 rebounds (12.3 ave.) He also scored 211 points (9.6 ave.) and had 33 steals and 15 assists.

Senior Justin Morgan tallied 200 points (9.1 ave) and had 73 rebounds, 36 assists and 31 steals.

Junior Daryl Haynes had 195 points (8.9 ave.), 112 rebounds, 93 assists and 53 steals.

The Mustangs regular nine member rotation also included freshmen Johnny Salone and Ronnie Koonce, sophomore Mason Lewis and seniors Dylan Lewis and Jared Zinkievich.

Medina’s roster also included senior Brad McPherson along with juniors Tyler Howard, Michael Cardone and Tyrellis Atkins.

“Our defense really keyed us. We went as our defense went,” said Forrestel. “Our defense really rounded into shape when we got going into the league season. We held six of our league opponents to scores in the 30’s so the guys were really focused on defense.”

Two wins over runner-up Roy-Hart (12-2) by scores of 50-34 and 73-62 keyed the successful title quest for the Mustangs which also included a key early season home court win over CSAT (69-60), a pair of close wins over Newfane (65-57 and 59-56) and a pair of wins over rival Albion (56-41, 65-50).

The Mustangs finished with a 15-7 overall record including a Section VI Class B1 quarterfinal win over CSAT (54-46)and a semifinal round loss to East Aurora (55-46).