WADSWORTH: Wadsworth took advantage of a short-handed Medina team in a 52-49 home victory Tuesday night.
The Bees were without star point guard Craig Randall because of a sprained ankle.
As a result, the Bees struggled to find a consistent scorer against Wadsworth’s stout defense and turned the ball over 21 times without their primary ball-hander.
But Medina coach Anthony Stacey isn’t one to make excuses.
“You’ve still got to play,” Stacey said. “What if he gets into foul trouble in the tournament? Are we just going to pack it in? I got a little different mentality. Some say I’m crazy, and probably so, but a team doesn’t function off one guy. Yeah, he’s a very important piece, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a rebound. That doesn’t mean you can’t get a loose ball.”
After falling behind early in the first quarter, the Grizzlies (13-7) closed the quarter on a 10-2 run to lead 15-9.
The Bees played from behind for the rest of the game, at one point falling behind by eight points midway through the fourth quarter, but they kept it interesting.
After the Bees closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run, the Grizzlies led just 35-34 heading to the final eight minutes.
The Grizzlies quickly opened it back up with a 12-5 run of their own, capped off by a put-back dunk by senior forward Kyle Prunty and a 3-pointer from junior guard Austin White after a block by junior forward Joel Kipfer.
The Bees responded with a three-point play from Tyler King and a 3-pointer from 6-foot-11 sophomore center Jon Teske, cutting the deficit back to two at 47-45.
The Grizzlies made just 5-of-8 from the free-throw line to close out the scoring, but their defense did enough to hold the Bees at bay.
White was instrumental in the Grizzlies’ second-half scoring attack with 12 of his 18 points coming after halftime, including two big fourth-quarter 3-pointers. He finished with 18 points, four rebounds and four steals.
The teams could meet again in a sectional final March 1 if they both win their opening-round games, and it is likely that Medina would then be equipped with its star point guard.
Wadsworth coach Mike Schmeltzer Jr. will still take the win.
“You want to win against your county rival no matter who’s playing,” Schmeltzer said. “I think it only gives our kids more confidence. We spent all day in practice preparing for a kid that we didn’t see tonight. At least we’ve got that in the back of our mind now and we know what we’re going to do when we do see them again.
“But our kids adjusted to it. When you’re in the locker room and your whole defensive game plan goes right out the door when a kid’s not playing, sometimes it’s kind of wishy-washy as to whether they’ll respond.”
Brandon Wilkins led the Bees with 13 points, three rebounds and three assists.
Jon Teske had 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks.