Purple Eagles upend rival Mustangs

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 5 February 2022 at 8:08 pm

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Aquil Gaffney goes up for a shot as Medina’s Robert Arnold tries to block. The action took place during the Purple Eagles win over the host Mustangs this afternoon.

Turning back a late comeback bid, Albion upended rival Medina 61-55 in a Niagara-Orleans make-up game this afternoon knocking the host Mustangs out of the league lead.

The victory snapped a season long six game N-O losing streak for Albion while Medina slips to 6-3 and a half game behind now front-running Roy-Hart (6-2) which downed host Barker 65-37.

Trailing by 10, 54-44, with just over four minutes to go Medina put together an 11-2 run to rally back to within one at 56-55 with 1:30 remaining.

Albion’s Caleb Fox goes up to try and block a shot attempt by Medina’s Kaedon Cleveland.

Jarin Rhim had two baskets, Joe Cecchini a three and two free throws and Anthony Bowman a three during that comeback but the Mustangs could not pull even.

Albion answered the challenge by closing with a clutch 5-0 run over the final 1:10.

First Caleb Fox scored on a layup to give the Purple Eagles a little breathing room. Then two free throws by Jahmeek Riley and one by Tyler Gibson then put a lock on the victory as Albion avenged a 53-42 home court loss earlier in the week.

Gibson finished with 14, Fox 13 and Javon Jones 10 to lead Albion’s balanced attack as Ozzie Matos, Riley and Aquil Gaffney each scored 8.

Rhim finished with a game high 23 and Cecchini 16 to pace Medina as Bowman added 8, Robert Arnold 3 and Cayden Lilleby 2.

Albion jumped out to a 13-9 first quarter lead as Riley scored 6 and Fox 5.

Medina did rally into a slender lead twice late in the second quarter first at 21-20 after back-to-back baskets by Rhim and again at 24-22 after a three-point play by Cecchini.

Albion though regained a narrow 25-24 lead at the half on a late three by Gibson.

The lead then changed hands seven times in the third period before Albion put together a big turnover aided 13-0 run to close the stanza to rally from a 35-34 deficit into a 47-35 lead.

A three by Matos ignited that uprising which also included two baskets by Gibson and one each by Gaffney, Fox and Jones.

Medina quickly cut the deficit to five, 49-44, early in the final period after back-to-back threes by Arnold and Cecchini followed by a three-point play by Cecchini.

The Purple Eagles though answered with a three by Fox and a layup by Gibson to quickly regain a 10 point, 54-44, advantage with just over four minutes to go.

That set the stage for an exciting finish as Medina put together an 11-2 run to rally back to within one only to see Albion answer the challenge with a key 5-0 run to close and lockup the win.

Albion’s Tyler Gibson goes in for a layup as Anthony Bowman defends for Medina.

Roy-Hart 65, Barker 37
Avenging an early season 70-67 loss, Roy-Hart bested host Barker 65-37 to improve to 6-2 and regain the N-O lead.

Jamel Johnson Jr. scored a game high 26, Aiden Petrie 16 and Vinny Buscarino 9 to set the pace for the Rams which led 31-19 at the half and 47-31 after three quarters.

Aidan Mescall scored 13 for Barker which is now 3-5.

Wilson 43, Akron 41
A three pointed by Jake Austin with 10 seconds to go earned Wilson a narrow 43-41 win over Akron.

Mike Bubar scored 12 and Matt Fox 9 for Wilson while Trace Hill took game high honors with 17 for Akron.

N-O Standings: Roy-Hart 6-2, Medina 6-3, Newfane 5-3, Wilson 4-5, Akron 3-4, Barker 3-5, Albion 1-6.