Mustangs turn back late Steelers challenge to capture Section VI Class B2 championship
That 50 year long drought is over!
Turning back a late challenge, top seeded Medina downed visiting No. 2 Lackawanna 68-57 this evening to capture the Section VI Class B2 championship, the Mustangs first sectional title since 1971.
Medina went up by as many as 21 midway through the third quarter but Lackawanna came battling back to within 8 in the final two minutes. However, the Mustangs weathered the storm as baskets by Jarin Rhim and Tyler Chinn followed by free throws by Chinn and Brian Fry finally locked up the hard earned victory and the elusive sectional title.
“I told the kids that the best things don’t come easy and they came back, regrouped and answered the challenge,” said Coach Eric Hellwig. “I think our experience was the difference. “It’s quite an accomplishment. The kids have a lot to be proud of. They are an incredible group. They are a real tight group.”
Fry finished with a game high 22 points, Chinn 19, Jarin Rhim 10, Joe Cecchini 9 and Christian Drisdom and Dontae Rhim 4 each.
Julienn Clement scored 28 and Ashlin Alexander 15 to lead Lackawanna.
Getting point production from six different players and capitalizing on a rash of Steeler turnovers, Medina jumped out to a 17-11 first quarter lead. Chinn and Fry both had a pair of layups, Jarin Rhim, Drisdom and Dontae Rhim one each and Cecchini a three in the stanza.
Keeping the momentum, the Mustangs used a 22-10 second quarter scoring edge to increase the advantage to 18, 39-21, at the half.
Fry scored 7, Chinn 6, Cecchini 3 and Jarin Rhim, Drisdom and Dontae Rhim one each in the stanza.
Interestingly 16 of Medina’s 17 first half baskets were layups.
The Mustangs advantage soared to 21, 48-27, three minutes into the third period after two layups by Fry, one by Jarin Rhim and a three by Chinn.
Lackawanna though came battling back. Three threes by Alexander and two by Clement helped the Steelers cut the deficit to 13, 55-42, at the three-quarter mark.
The Steelers pulled to within nine, 55-46, at the outset of the decisive final period after another three by Clement.
The teams then traded scores for the next four minutes as a fast break layup and a free throw by Fry along with a jumper by Chinn helped keep Medina up by nine, 61-52 with 3:20 remaining. A jumper by Jarin Rhim and a layup by Chinn then boosted the advantage back up to 13, 65-52, with 2:10 remaining.
Lackawanna though refused to fold. Baskets by Alexander and Archie Saeed and a free throw by Shyheim Smalls rallied the Steelers to within eight, 65-57 with 1:20 remaining.
However, the Steelers would get no closer as two free throws by Chinn with 1:02 to go and another by Fry at the 40 second mark finally put a lock on the victory and the title for the Mustangs.
“Lackawanna has a good team but they are young so I think our experience was the difference,” said Hellwig. “We got challenged in the second half but with our experience we were able to regroup, battle back and answer the challenge.”
Medina finishes the season at 14-1 and Lackawanna at 12-3.
The Mustangs advanced to the title contest by downing Niagara-Orleans League rival Newfane 64-55 in the semifinals while Lackawanna edged Akron 47-43.