Mustangs rally past Rams to hike lead

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 28 January 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Daryl Haynes drives against Roy-Hart defender Tim Moriarity during the Mustangs key win over the visiting Rams this evening

Coming from way, way back, Medina rallied to nip visiting Roy-Hart 73-62 this evening to open up a two game lead in the Niagara-Orleans League boys basketball title race.

Trailing by as many as 18 midway through the second quarter, Medina first cut the deficit to 10 at the half, then rallied into a one point lead at the three-quarter mark and finally used a 26-16 fourth period scoring edge to lock up the key win.

Improving to 9-0 with the victory, Medina moves two games ahead in the all important loss column over runner-up Roy-Hart which slips to 8-2.

Jalin Cooper scored 26 and Justin Morgan 18 to spearhead the attack for Medina as Dylan Lewis netted 11, Daryl Haynes 9, Tyler Ames 8 and Jared Zinkievich 1.

Andy Xapsos took game high scoring honors for Roy-Hart with 27 as Chris Anderson added 11, Ben Maynard 9, Justin Hescke 5, Brendon Hess 4 and Jacob Bruning and Tim Moriarity 3 each.

Roy-Hart’s Chris Anderson puts up a shot as Medina’s Tyler Ames tries for the block.

Medina jumped out to a 10-5 lead at the outset as Cooper hit four quick baskets.

However, Roy-Hart answered right back with a big 15-0 scoring burst including nine by Maynard on a three, two layups and a jumper along with a pair of buckets by Xapsos which propelled the Rams out to a 20-13 lead at the end of the period.

Keeping the momentum, Roy-Hart opened the second period with s 13-2 run, including a three by Xapsos and two baskets by Hess, to extend the lead to 18, 33-15.

Medina though came battling back.

Ignited by back-to-back threes by Lewis, the Mustangs closed the period with an 11-3 run to cut the deficit to 10, 36-26, at the half.

Back-to-back jumpers by Lewis and Morgan then pulled Medina to within six, 36-30, at the outset of the third period.

Three baskets by Anderson then off set three tallies by Cooper keeping Roy-Hart up by eight, 46-38, late in the period.

Medina though closed the period with a key 9-0 run capped off by a three-point play by Cooper and a three off a turnover by Lewis to rally into the lead for good by a narrow 47-46 margin at the three-quarter mark.

Medina’s Dylan Lewis puts up a three over Roy-Hart defenders Justin Heschke (15) and Andy Xapsos.

Again the Mustangs kept the momentum opening the decisive final period with an 11-4 run to extend the lead to eight, 58-50, with 3:50 remaining.

A three by Morgan ignited that surge which also included three straight baskets by Cooper and a pair of free throws by Ames.

Back-to-back baskets by Hayes followed by a pair of free throws by Cooper boosted the Mustangs advantage to 11, 65-54, with just 1:12 remaining.

Morgan then made 7 free throws in the final 1:09 to put a lock on the Mustangs big come-from-behind victory.

Medina next hosts Akron in a make-up game at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Roy-Hart’s Justin Heschke gets fouled by Medina’s Jalin Cooper as Tyler Ames also defends.