Kenneth L. Coleman
MEDINA — Being in a zone is supposed to be a good thing.
But it was all bad for Elyria on Friday night as the Pioneers got lost in Medina’s 1-3-1 zone defense and came out on the losing end of a 60-42 decision in Northeast Ohio Conference play.
“Give Medina credit because they prepared better,” Elyria coach Brett Larrick said. “We didn’t prepare well during the last days at practice and it showed.”
Legendary former Medina basketball coach Alan Darner played a role in the game — kind of.
Current Bees coach Jody Peters, who played high school ball under Darner, installed the 1-3-1 that he learned from his former coach.
“It’s something that we just put in this week,” Peters said of the 1-3-1. “It’s one of those things back in high school we played with coach Darner. We needed something to give us an edge tonight.”
Elyria (1-9 overall, 0-4 NOC) didn’t expect to face that defense and it showed. The Pioneers seemed confused in attacking the Bees’ 1-3-1 and didn’t record a field goal until 1:39 was left in the first quarter.
Peters played the top of the zone during his playing days and he threw the same scheme at Elyria, placing 6-foot-6 Kenny Kaminski (five points) up front to bother the smaller Pioneers’ guards.
“We feel like we have some bigger guys with pretty good feet,” Peters said.
Good foul shooting by the Pioneers (15-of-22 for the game) kept it close early. Chase Farris made four free throws in the opening quarter, which ended with the Bees ahead
Medina was also clicking on the offensive end, hitting three 3-pointers in the first half, mixed in with a couple of layups.
But the Pioneers refused to go away. Behind a couple of tough layups by point guard Mike Cannon-Wohlever (four points, four assists) and strong post play by Farris (11 points, six rebounds) and Will Rudolph (nine points) the Pioneers stayed in the game.
The half ended with Medina up only 24-16.
But the second half belonged to the Bees, specifically to guard Brenden Bryant who came off the bench and established his presence.
Bryant, a sophomore, tallied five of his game-high six assists in the second half. More importantly, the shifty point guard made it hard for Elyria to press the Bees in an attempt to close the gap.
“He can break you down,” Peters said of Bryant. “I told him not to fiddle around with the ball, just blow by people and find the open guy.”
Bryant listened to his coach’s advice and delivered pinpoint passes that led to some easy layups for teammates.
“Coach tells me to get the ball and go,” Bryant said. “Then I take my time to execute passes and hit my teammates where I know they can make easy shots.”
Two 3-pointers by Tyler Peters (nine points) helped extend the Bees lead to 43-27 by the end of the third quarter.
Danny Rymer (nine points) extended the lead to 49-30 early in the fourth quarter with two layups and Medina never looked back.
Matt Ellenbest led the Bees with 10 points and Zach Peters collected eight rebounds to go with six points.
Contact Kenneth L. Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medina 60, Elyria 42
ELYRIA (42): Chase Farris 2-7-11, Will Rudolph 4-1-9, Mike Cannon-Wohlever 2-0-4, Matt Velazquez 2-0-4, Dimitrius Lovett 0-3-3, Josh Brubaker 1-0-3, Shiloh Taylor 0-3-3, Maurice Woods 1-0-2, DeSean Davis 1-0-2, Travis Noble 0-1-1, Eric Santo Domingo 0-0-0. Totals 13-15-42.
MEDINA (60): Matt Ellenbest 3-3-10, Tyler Peters 3-1-9, Danny Rymer 4-0-9, Justin Letts 2-2-7, Zach Peters 1-4-6, Brenden Bryant 2-1-5, Kenny Kaminski 2-0-5, Tim Viancourt 2-0-4, John Maillie 1-1-3, Cameron Roda 0-0-0. Totals 21-12-60.
Elyria 8 8 11 15 — 42
Medina 15 9 19 17 — 60
Three-point goals: Elyria (Brubaker); Medina (T. Peters 2, Letts, Rymer, Kaminski, Ellenbest). Rebounds: Elyria 25 (Farris 6); Medina 28 (Z. Peters 8). Assists: Elyria 6 (Cannon-Wohlever 4); Medina 16 (Bryant 6).
Junior varsity: Elyria, 54-47.