Mustangs top Panthers to share N-O lead
Turning back a late challenge, defending champion Medina knocked host Newfane from the ranks of the unbeaten this evening to gain a share of the Niagara-Orleans League boys basketball lead at 5-1.
Jalin Cooper scored a game high 29 points, Izaiah Rhim netted 16 and Mason Lewis 15 to lead the Medina attack as Nate Sherman and Tyler Chinn both chipped in with 4, Brendan Luthart 3 and Alex Allis 2.
Kyle DeVoogel scored 19 and Max Weber 14 to spark Newfane as Connor Hill added 8, Matt DiTullio 6, Brandon Gross, Umaru Lbrahim and Andrew Boudeman 5 each, Jarret Gilson 2 and Chad Dunbar 1.
Up by 12, 64-52, with 2:40 remaining, Medina saw Newfane come battling back with a 9-0 run, highlighted by a three by DeVoogel and a layup off a turnover by Boudeman, to slice the deficit to just three at 64-61.
However, the Mustangs weathered the storm answering back with a clutch 7-0 run to regain control. A big basket by Rhim on a layup gave Medina a little breathing room and Luthart, Rhim and Cooper followed up with free throws to put the Mustangs back up by 10, 71-61, and lock up the win.
It was a foul filled contest as the Panthers went to the free throw line 35 times and the Mustangs 34.
Medina grabbed a narrow 18-14 lead at the end of the first quarter as Cooper tallied 6, Lewis 5, Rhim 4 and Sherman 3 in the early going.
The Mustangs quickly extended the lead to 15, 32-17, by opening the second period with s 14-3 run including 6 points by Cooper, and threes by Lewis and Rhim.
Medina, whose tight, aggressive man-to-man defense blanked Newfane from the field over the first seven minutes of the period, maintained a 15 point, 40-25, advantage at the half as Cooper had two baskets and Lewis a three at the buzzer.
Keeping the momentum, Medina extended its lead to 18, 54-36, with three minutes to go in the third period as three buckets by Rhim led that surge.
The Panthers though got back in the game by closing the period with s 10-0 run capped off by a three by DiTullo and a layup off a steal by Gross to cut the deficit to eight, 54-46.
Getting two baskets and four free throws from Cooper, Medina did extend its lead back to 12, 64-52, with 2:40 remaining but then had to turn back a last ditch Newfane rally to claim the key victory.
Medina next visits rival Albion at 7 p.m. Thursday in an other key N-O contest as the Purple Eagles are now just a game out of first place at 4-2.