Mustangs late rally nips Crusaders

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 10 December 2021 at 8:39 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Jarin Rhim, who scored the game winning free throws,  puts up a shot against CCA defenders Tyler Charland (14) and Myles Samuel (23) during the Mustangs narrow home court win over the Crusaders this evening.

Rallying in the final minute, Medina edged past visiting Central Christian Academy 47-45 this evening in a non league basketball game.

Trailing 45-42, Medina pulled even on a three by Joe Cecchini with just a minute to go which ended a four and a half minute Mustangs field goal shooting drought.

Jarin Rhim then put the Mustangs back on top to stay at 47-45 with a pair of clutch free throws with 18 seconds to go.

Joe Cecchini, who hit a late three to tie the game, puts up a shot for the Mustangs.

The Mustangs then preserved the slender lead and claimed the win as David Berry, Rhim and Cecchini all took turns pulling down clutch free throws in the final six seconds followed by a game clinching steal by Rhim just as the buzzer sounded.

Rhim finished with 13 points, Berry 11, Cecchini 9, Robert Arnold 8 and Cayden Lilleby 6.

Aaron Hicks scored 16, Jeff Norcutt 13 and Gabe Rodriquez 11 for CCA.

Despite being plagued by a rash of a dozen turnovers and 9 of 30 field goal shooting in the first half, Medina trailed by narrow margins of just 11-7 after the first quarter and 25-21 at the end of the second.

The Mustangs rallied into a one point lead three times in the third period and tailed by just one, 37-36, at the end of the quarter. Rhim scored 7 and Berry and Arnold both hit threes in the period to keep the Mustangs close.

Medina rallied into a 41-37 lead early in the decisive final period after two free throws by Cecchini and a three by Berry.

However, it would be four and a half minutes before the Mustangs could connect on another field goal and in the meantime the Crusaders used an 8-1 run, including a three and a layup by Norcutt, to rally into a 45-42 lead.

The Mustangs though battled back in the hectic final minute to claim the win on a three by Cecchini and a jumper by Rhim followed by strong defensive work on the boards.

Now at 1-1, Medina will next host Cardinal O’Hara at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in another non league contest.

David Berry puts up a shot for the Mustangs over Crusaders defender Jeff Norcutt.