MEDINA — This boys basketball game was about Peek and peaking.
Built-like-a-man, 6-foot-6 small forward Omari Peek put up 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists Tuesday as Strongsville recorded a 68-62 Greater Cleveland Conference win over a Medina team that hopes to be playing its best heading into the postseason tournament.
“We know it’s a journey,” Bees coach Chris Hassinger said after his team fell to 3-7, 0-5. “We know how tough our schedule is. We keep saying, ‘Let’s get ready for the tournament.’ That’s always our goal. We feel like we’re getting ready for that run.”
As they have been in most games this season, the Bees were good enough to make their opponent work hard but not quite good enough to win.
Medina got 16 points, five boards and five assists from shooting guard Kyle Szumski, 13 points and nine rebounds from center Tyler Kaminski, 13 points and three assists from point guard Colin Szumski and nine points and six boards from small forward Dylan Fultz.
What the Bees never got for the better part of the last three quarters — Strongsville turned a six-point deficit into an eight-point lead with a 19-5 run that started at the end of the first period and lasted until the 2:35 mark of the second — was the lead.
“Our margin for error is very, very small,” Kaminski said. “It comes down to a couple possessions every night.”
It doesn’t help that Medina plays in an extremely tough conference, as the Bees and Mustangs (2-8, 1-4) were tied for last in the GCC coming into the night. In many other leagues, both schools would be at least middle-of-the-pack teams.
“This is one of the best leagues in the state of Ohio,” Kaminski said. “Every team is super good. We have to prepare 100 percent every night to win.
“We’re fine mentally,” he added. “Every day at practice, we’re on top of the world. We believe we’re going to come back in the second half of the season.”
Strongsville, which spent the entire game in a 2-3 matchup zone, also has reason to be optimistic, especially if Peek plays like he did against Medina. The senior was 6-for-11 from the field and perfect on 11 free throws as the Mustangs went 15-for-16 at the line.
Included in the small forward’s performance were a number of contested jumpers in the 15-foot range, which were shots the Bees wanted him to take.
“We tried to make him make tough twos,” Kaminski said. “Anyone can make 3-pointers and anyone can make free throws. We wanted him to have to make tough shots, but when he’s hitting those, it’s really tough to stop him.”
Strongsville also got 22 points and four 3-pointers from point guard Bernie McGivern and 14 points and 12 boards from center Shaun Csire, who helped the Mustangs win the rebounding battle 34-25.
Medina led by six points on two occasions in the first period and Strongsville’s biggest lead was nine at the 4:50 mark of the third quarter, but the Bees still had a puncher’s chance down the stretch.
Trailing 62-56 with less than a minute to go, Medina made turnovers on back-to-back possessions and Strongsville iced things by making six straight free throws.
“We have kids that fight back when they’re down, there’s no doubt about that,” Hassinger said. “But we have to be within one or two possessions down the stretch to have a chance.
“We’re searching for that guard that is going to step up. It can be a different guy each night, but we need someone to take over. Last year, Jackson (Sartain) and Luke (Schaefer) would take any shot at any time. Now we have guys that haven’t had to play that big role. If they miss a shot, it affects them.”
- Medina won the junior varsity game 74-40 behind 22 points from Doug Sartain. The Bees made 11 of their 12 3-pointers in a 47-point first half, including a 70-foot swish at the end of the first period by Sartain, who had all six of his threes in the opening two quarters. Luke Hensley added a 28-footer that hit nothing but net to end the second period.
- Strongsville won the freshman game 59-43. Landon Kistler had 15 points for Medina.
Strongsville 68, Medina 62
STRONGSVILLE 16 19 19 14 — 68
MEDINA 19 12 17 14 — 62
Strongsville — Omari Peek 6-11-23, Kevin Lawler 2-0-4, Shaun Csire 6-2-14, Tim Ruch 0-0-0, Bernie McGivern 8-2-22, Ali Awada 1-0-3, Joe Lake 1-0-2, Jalen Garner 0-0-0. TOTALS: 24-15-68.
Medina — Dylan Fultz 4-0-9, Dillon Friedrick 1-0-3, Tyler Kaminski 6-1-13, Kyle Szumski 6-3-16, Colin Szumski 5-2-13, Drew Hassinger 2-0-5, Dylan O’Dear 0-0-0, Corey Tripp 0-0-0, Doug Sartain 1-0-3, Daniel Terrion 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-6-62.
3-point goals — McGivern 4, Awada, Fultz, Friedrick, K. Szumski, Sartain, C. Szumski, Hassinger. Rebounds — Strongsville 34 (Csire 12), Medina 25 (Kaminski 9). Assists — Strongsville 9 (Peek 4), Medina 13 (K. Szumski 5). Records — Strongsville (2-8, 1-4), Medina (3-7, 0-5). Junior varsity — Medina 74, Strongsville 40.