There were no wouldas, couldas or shouldas, no whys, what ifs or how comes.
The Medina boys basketball team’s season came to an end Thursday in a University of Akron Division I Regional semifinal because Massillon Jackson was simply better in an impressive 80-59 victory at JAR Arena.
“They’re fabulous,” Medina point guard Ben Geschke said. “They definitely have a great chance of going to states and winning.”
With a starting lineup that goes 6-foot-2, 6-3, 6-5, 6-5, 6-7 and is also extremely talented, the Polar Bears (25-2), ranked fourth in Ohio in the final regular-season D-I state poll, were simply bigger, faster, stronger and better than the Bees (18-8).
For Medina, there was no shame in losing to a team that is sending 6-7 Kyle Young to Butler and 6-5 Logan Hill to Toledo to play hoops, while 6-5 Jaret Pallotta, a junior, will eventually play D-I college football at quarterback and Dillon Dingler, the Stark County Player of the Year on the gridiron, will head to Ohio State to play baseball.
“They’ve got all the pieces to make it all the way,” Bees forward Luke Schaefer said. “They’ve got a couple studs, and around them they’ve got good athletes going to college to play other sports.”
The studs, of course, are Young and Hill.
Young had a quiet 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting, eight rebounds and two assists — even his two dunks were fairly modest — but there was no mistaking the kid is good and may someday play for pay.
Hill, a fantastic jumper, was much more flamboyant in finishing with 21 points, four rebounds and four blocks, the latter actually being swats. Hill also had three big-time slams, including a reverse two-hander along the baseline that was completed with ridiculous ease.
Kyle Nicolas added 15 points for the Polar Bears, while Pallotta had 12 points, five rebounds and 10 assists.
Yes, folks, Jackson is good. So good, in fact, that it would probably beat Medina 95 times in 100 meetings. Heck, that number might be even higher, as it’s very difficult to pinpoint how the Bees would win the other five.
That’s not meant as the slightest knock on Medina, which had a great season, fought until the end of it and stayed together and stood tall after it was over.
It’s just the honest truth, as Jackson shot an incredible .615 from the field (32-for-52) and led 24-13 after the first period, 33-19 at halftime and 55-37 after three quarters.
“Oh, man, they make you pay for every little mistake,” Bees coach Chris Hassinger said of the Polar Bears. “They’re just so good from top to bottom. You make one little mistake and they get a layup or dunk.”
The Bees didn’t quit, but that was never in question. If this team was made up of quitters, it would have been done after it followed a 10-0 start by losing seven of its last 12 regular-season games.
Instead, Medina dug deep, rattled off three tournament wins and reached the regional level for the second time in three years under Hassinger.
Schaefer (16 points), who cut his team’s dunk deficit to 5-1 with a two-handed throwdown, Geschke (11), Jimmy Daw (10) and Jackson Sartain (7) will graduate, but they did the basketball program, their school and themselves proud.
“What a great season,” Hassinger said. “You can’t be disappointed about the achievements. I was proud of our kids. They stayed together until the end. They just kept fighting.”
That the Bees did, but there were no wouldas, couldas or shouldas, no whys, what ifs or how comes. They had a fantastic run, but they simply lost to a better team.