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Boys Basketball State Tournament

Boys HS Hoops: Medina Wins 2nd Straight District Championship with 54-53 Win Over Cleveland Heights

Ninth seed Cleveland Heights began mounting a fourth quarter comeback on third seed Medina in the Division I, Northeast 4 District Championship Game.

The game came down to one possession with three seconds left as Keyshawn Hall’s mid-range floater came up short to give Medina their second consecutive district championship with a 54-53 win over the Tigers.

“Your gut just falls to the lowest part of your body that you can get to. Then, the elation sets in that we won another district championship,” Bees’ coach Chriss Hassinger describes the final shot.

Heading into the fourth quarter the Tigers trailed 47-38. It took an 11-5 run to pull them within one possession. But Medina’s star player Corey Tripp knew that the team must stay calm.

“We had to maintain our composure,” he said.

“Everybody had to stick together and we had to focus which was what we did.”

During the 11-5 run, Bees’ big-man Christian Howard produced points which included an and-1 off a triple team after getting an offensive rebound.

After the Tigers’ fourth quarter run, Tripp used his playmaking abilities to find Bryce Beech for a layup while under duress.

Medina was well aware of the challenge Cleveland Heights brought, as the Bees won 56-55 earlier in the season in the Bee Hive.

“(Cleveland Heights has) so much talent,” Hassinger said.

“We knew it was going to be a dog-fight. We even said that it was going to be a one or two possession game going down the stretch”

Medina found themselves down early by conceding an 8-0 Tigers’ run to trail 15-11 at the end of the first quarter. Medina shot 40 percent from the field in the quarter.

Medina was put into a similar situation like they were in against Copley in their district semi-final game a few days prior. Hassinger’s response was to keep the team calm and it worked.

“Our kids just don’t panic,” he said.

“That’s what happened in Copley… We play good teams for a reason during the season, which is to get prepared for [a game like this.] I felt like we were really prepared.”

Medina responded with a 15-0 run at the end of the first quarter to the latter half of the second quarter.

The run was also when Tripp got going and put Medina in control with a 25-19 halftime lead.

Tripp finished the night with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists.

The success didn’t stop for Medina as they went on a 15-5 run to start the third quarter.

Cleveland Heights completes their season 11-11, 4-5 in Lake Erie League. The Tigers top scorers were E.J. Farmer (19 points), Hall (11 points), and Davon Smith-Johnson (10 points).

Other than Tripp, Howard (14 points) was the other Medina player to reach double-digit points.

Medina (17-6, 7-2 in Greater Cleveland Conference) advances to the Division II, Region 2 semi-final in Twinsburg High School. They will be matched up against 12th-seeded Hoover on Wednesday, Mar. 10.

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