ELYRIA — Elyria junior forward Alexis Middlebrooks did everything she could, but it wasn’t enough.
Middlebrooks scored a team-high 16 points and grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds, but her Pioneers couldn’t overcome a shooting slump that lasted through the second and third quarters, falling to Medina 50-42 in Northeast Ohio Conference action.
Medina (13-4, 7-2) shot a sizzling 75 percent in the first quarter, but was unable to pull away as Elyria (12-8, 1-7) connected at a 63 percent clip in the first eight minutes. The Bees entered the second period leading 21-17, but that’s when the Pioneers’ shooting woes began.
In the second period, Elyria hit just 2-of-15 from the floor. In the third, it shot just 2-of-13 from the field. Medina outscored Elyria 25-12 combined in those two periods to take a commanding 46-29 lead into the fourth.
The Pioneers opened the final quarter on a 6-0 run to cut the Bees’ lead to 46-35, but could get no closer than seven points the rest of the game. Medina finished the game shooting over 41 percent
(19-of-46) while Elyria shot just 34 percent (18-of-53) from the floor.
Despite the loss, Middlebrooks learned something about her team.
“We just played one of the best teams in our conference and were able to hang with them,” she said. “If we can play like that in our games coming up, we should have a good chance to win. We have to get our defense and offense going at the same time. We play with intensity and with a lot of heart. When everything comes together, we are going to be a very good team.”
While the Pioneers couldn’t buy a basket in the middle two quarters, they also couldn’t find an answer for Medina senior guard Sarah Kinch. The Northern Kentucky recruit ended the game with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting and added seven rebounds and six steals.
“We know she’s good,” Bees coach Chris Hassinger said of Kinch. “She can do those things and take over games. Sometimes I wish she’d take over more games in the second half, but we know what Sarah can do.”
Elyria coach Mike Walsh thought a four-minute stretch in the third quarter, in which neither team was able to score, was the difference. Just one minute into the second half, Middlebrooks hit a
3-pointer from the left wing to cut the Medina lead to 35-27. Neither team scored again until Madi Tate’s putback gave the Bees a 37-27 lead with 2:59 left on the third-quarter clock.
“In that third quarter, it was 35-27 forever,” Walsh said. “We had our opportunities and at that point we needed to chip into the lead a little bit because our defense was doing a good job. We weren’t even getting shots because we kept turning the ball over.
“We had finally figured out their press, were running our half-court offense, moving the ball around, and ended up either turning the ball over or taking a bad shot. We’ve got to get good shots in that situation or get to the foul line. We didn’t get to the foul line enough tonight.”
Both teams finished the game with 22 turnovers.
“I think our turnovers came from a lot of fatigue and from how good Elyria is defensively,” Hassinger said.
Holly Rhodes scored 16 points for Medina, connecting on 4-of-5 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Mary Jones finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for the Pioneers.
“They have two great players in Middlebrooks and Jones,” Hassinger said of Elyria. “They run good stuff and play hard. They’re strong, tough and physical and are good kids, too. To come out of their place with a victory is great. We don’t care how we get it.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Medina 50, Elyria 42
MEDINA (50): Angela Tesney 1-1-3, Faith Constance 0-0-0, Sarah Kinch 10-1-23, Alexis Smith 1-1-3, Cari Pallini 0-0-0, Toribeth Cullen 1-0-2, Holly Rhodes 4-4-16, Madi Tata 2-0-4, Casey Midlik 0-0-0, Becca Supan 0-0-0. Totals 19-7-50.
ELYRIA (42): Sybil Roseboro 5-0-12, Mary Jones 6-0-13, Jocelyn Spraggins 1-0-2, Alexis Roseboro 5-4-16, Shayla Middlebrooks 1-0-2, Mariah Johnson 0-0-0, Sierra White 0-0-0, Samantha Harjar 0-0-0. Totals 18-4-42.
Medina 21 14 11 6 — 50
Elyria 17 7 5 13 — 42
Three-point goals: Medina 6-15 (Rhodes 4, Kinch 2), Elyria 5-15 (S. Roseboro 2, A. Middlebrooks 2, Jones). Field goals: Medina 19-46 (41.3 percent), Elyria 18-53 (33.9 percent); Free throws: Medina 7-15 (46.6 percent), Elyria 4-6 (67 percent); Rebounds: Elyria 40 (A. Middlebrooks 19), Medina 34 (Kinch 7). Turnovers: Medina 22, Elyria 22. Total fouls: Medina 10, Elyria 17. Fouled out: none.
Junior varsity: Medina, 48-30