Tight Medina vs. Roy-Hart title chase recalls Mustangs’ last run for N-O title
One team is looking to double its lead and the other to pull into a tie for the top spot as front-running Medina hosts runner-up Roy-Hart at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in a key Niagara-Orleans League boys basketball showdown.
Currently at 8-0 Medina can open up a two game lead with a victory while 8-1 Roy-Hart can pull into a virtual tie for the top spot with a win.
Medina handed Roy-Hart its only league loss to date by a 50-34 margin earlier in the season.
Interestingly, the last time Medina opened the league season at 8-0 was the 2008-09 season, which was also the last time the Mustangs captured the N-O championship.
That season Medina, which was led by Levi Pace, shared the crown at 13-1 with Akron which was led by JC Tretter who went on to star on the gridiron at Cornell University and is now a versatile lineman with the Green Bay Packers.
Medina’s opening 8-0 win streak that year included a narrow 50-46 early season win over Akron. However, the Tigers ended that Mustangs win streak by taking the rematch 63-44 in game nine as Tretter scored a game high 22 points.
The two teams then both won their final five league games to end up as co-champions at 13-1.
This season Jalin Cooper leads the Medina attack averaging 14.7 points per game. Tyler Ames is averaging 9.9, Daryl Haynes 9.6, Justin Morgan 8.8 and Jared Zinkievich 6.0 for the Mustangs.
Roy-Hart, which is looking to end a two decade long N-O title drought, is sparked by Andy Xapsos who is averaging an area high of 22.4 per outing. Chris Anderson is averaging 8.7, Justin Heschke 7.1 and Ben Maynard 6.2 for the Rams.
Roy-Hart last captured the N-O crown just 20 years ago during the 1995-96 season when the Rams shared the title with Wilson at 12-2.
Roy-Hart and Wilson split their two meeting that season as the Lakemen won the first 67-49 and the Rams the rematch 71-62. However, the Rams also lost to Barker (69-55) and the Lakemen to Starpoint (57-53), both in early season contests. Both teams won their final six games to emerge as co-champions.
Medina 8-0, Roy-Hart 8-1, Wilson 5-4, Albion 4-4, Newfane 4-5, Barker 4-6, CSAT 2-7, Akron 0-8.