AKRON — As most high school basketball teams should, Medina put much of its attention on Butler recruit Kyle Young during its University of Akron Division I Regional semifinal Thursday.
The problem was Massillon Jackson was much more than Young, and it showed in an 80-59 win over the Bees.
Young still got his, going 9-for-14 en route to 20 points, eight rebounds and a block, but Jaret Pallotta and Logan Hill picked the odd quarters to help the Polar Bears dominate a game where Medina’s only lead was 4-2.
“To have great players surround you, it takes a lot of pressure off,” Young said. “It just gives you a lot of confidence in your team. I’ve always had a lot of confidence in these guys. For guys to step up like that, it’s exactly what we need.”
Pallotta finished with 12 points, five rebounds and 10 assists, while Hill had a game-high 21 points with four rebounds and four blocks.
“We game-planned to try and take away (Young), but their supporting cast is pretty good,” Bees forward Luke Schaefer said. “A team like that, there’s not much you can do. In order to compete more, we needed more size. It’s just something at Medina we don’t have. We’ve got a bunch of 6-foot and 6-2 guards that can shoot.”
The quarterback of the football team, Pallotta knows what it’s like to be in the spotlight and it showed right out of the gate.
With an offer from Eastern Kentucky and interest from Ball State, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Indian, Louisville, Miami (Ohio), Purdue and Toledo, the 6-5 junior can turn it on when needed.
An invitee to Louisville’s Junior Day in February, Pallotta was the unquestionable leader in the first quarter, scoring eight in the frame.
When everyone was looking at Young, Pallotta was schooling the Bees with one smart play after another.
“It was vital for us to stay focused,” Pallotta said. “We just wanted to play basketball. We’ve been playing in front of sold-out crowds all year. That doesn’t faze us. Once we got started, it was just another game. That took a little pressure off and let our bigs get going.”
The biggest of the bigs was Hill.
His team up 33-19 at halftime, Hill showed why the Toledo Rockets are glad the 6-5 senior is headed to the northwest pocket of the state in the fall.
He was everywhere in the third quarter, going 4-for-4 with three dunks in a 10-point quarter that included some big-time plays on the defensive end as well.
“We always want the crowd on our side. It’s a huge factor,” Hill said. “We’ve been playing together forever. (Young) is always the one that you can rely on to score. I just try to take on a different role and get the crowd involved and get them hyped. We have two different roles and we do it well.”
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.