Recalling Medina’s sectional title run

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 4 March 2017 at 9:35 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Medina’s Freddrica King, left, is shown in action during the Mustangs 1997 Class B2 championship win over East Aurora. At right, Medina’s Erin Oveis is shown in action during the Mustangs 1996 B2 title win over Starpoint.

A nearly 20 year old drought will come to an end when Medina faces Niagara-Orleans League foe Wilson in the Section VI Class B2 girls basketball tournament championship game at 6 p.m. Sunday at Buffalo State College.

It will mark Medina’s first appearance in the title contest since the Mustangs played in four straight Class B2 championship games from 1995-1998.

During that memorable run the Mustangs captured back-to-back B2 championships in 1996 and 1997 by first defeating Starpoint 36-30 and then by downing East Aurora 56-45.  That historic first ever sectional championship win over Starpoint avenged a 1995 title loss to the Lady Spartans by a narrow 51-49 margin. Alden also downed Medina 68-41 in the 1998 final.

Seniors Jennifer Culver and Kathy Quackenbush, junior Erin Oveis, sophomores Freddrica King and Andrea Irons and eighth grader Helen King led Medina into the 1995 sectionals which ignited that run.  Freddrica King is now the Mustangs JV coach.

The Mustangs scored consecutive wins over Fredonia (63-34), Southwestern (59-49) and East Aurora (71-56) before being nipped in the title contest by Starpoint 51-49 at Buffalo State College.

Trailing by nine early in the final period, Medina rallied back into a 49-49 tie late with a big 16-7 run capped off by a three by Irons.  Starpoint though pulled out the win on a basket by Holly Miskey with 10 seconds to go.

However, Medina got revenge the following year by besting Starpoint in the championship game 36-30 at Erie Community College City campus.

Now a senior, Oveis scored 18 to spearhead the offense for Medina whose regular lineup also featured Irons and Freddrica King, now both juniors, and Helen King, now a freshman, along with senior Jennifer Didas and sophomore Darla McKee.

Holding a slender 28-26 lead, Medina got a key late 7-0 run including a jumper and rebound basket by Oveis and a jumper by Irons to help lock up the title.

The Mustangs and Lady Spartans had shard the N-O title that season at 12-2.

Medina advanced to the title contest by defeating Cheektowaga 61-26, Fredonia 62-44 and top seeded Iroquois 49-38 in the semifinals. Oveis scored 20 and Freddrica King 11 in the semi victory.

The Mustangs then made it two straight B2 championships by downing East Aurora 56-45 in the 1997 title contest with a lineup which included the veteran quartet of now seniors Freddrica King and Irons,  McKee, a junior, and Helen King ,a sophomore, along with senior Mollie Sullivan and junior Laquita Amos.

Freddrica King scored 22 and McKee 18 to lead Medina in the title contest as Irons had 10 and Helen King 6.

Up by only one at 39-38 early in the final period, Medina put together a  14-4 run including 8 by McKee and 6 by Freddrica King to pull away to a 53-42 lead and lock up the win.

Medina advanced to the finals by downing Allegany-Limestone 72-50 in the quarterfinals and then nipping N-O rival Roy-Hart 52-48 in overtime in the semifinals.

Irons and Sullivan both had key baskets in the overtime period which saw the lead change hands four times. Irons scored a total of 15 in the contest as Sullivan and Freddrica King both added 10.

Medina again advanced to the final in 1998 led by now seniors McKee and Amos and junior Helen King along with senior Lyndia Bielicki, junior Brooke Callara and freshman Karen Eick.

The Mustangs opened with a 65-41 win over Eden and then scored an incredible come-from-behind 63-62 victory over Fredonia in the quarterfinals.

Trailing by 22, 55-33, early in the final period, the Mustangs put together a huge 30-7 run to claim the win as King scored 21 of her 32 points including a three with three seconds to go to pull Medina within two.

Amos then capped off the dramatic rally by making three pressure free throws with no time showing on the clock. She was fouled while throwing up a desperation three point shot attempt after stealing Fredonia’s inbounds pass attempt.

Keeping the momentum, Medina then defeated Traditional 47-31 in the semifinals. McKee scored 17 and King 10 for the Mustangs which used a 28-5 second half scoring surge to erase a 26-19 half-time deficit.

However, in the title contest Alden raced out to a 37-12 advantage at the half and went on to down Medina 68-41.  The Mustangs were stymied in the first half by 15 turnovers and 6 of 29 field goal shooting.

Overall it truly was a Golden Era as in addition to the four straight sectional title appearances and two Class B2 championships, the Mustangs also captured four straight N-O titles while going 50-6 in the league and 78-19 overall.

Medina players celebrate their 1996 Class B2 sectional title win over Starpoint.