MEDINA — A big night from senior Brian Fry propelled the Medina boys basketball team to its first Section VI Championship since 1971, as the Mustangs dominated Lackawanna from the opening tip and rolled their way to a 68-57 victory in the Class B2 title game.
“They care about each other and they love to play together,” said Medina head coach Eric Hellwig about his team. “No one had any unexcused misses from practice this year, no one was late, most were early and they always wanted to stay around after.”
Fry recorded 22 points to lead all scorers and grabbed 10 rebounds while doling out six assists. Senior Tyler Chinn also performed well in the win, scoring 19 points, dishing out 10 assists and recording six steals.
“I think all the coaches at Medina would agree that Brian has the perfect athletic temperament,” said Hellwig. “He took over the game at points when he needed to like you’d expect from a senior. He and Tyler made the right reads with the ball and got it the open guy all night.”
Jarin Rhim chipped in 10 points to go with nine rebounds, while Joe Cecchini added nine points for Medina.
“Joe has been instrumental in our success during the second half of the season,” said Hellwig. “He did a good job defensively tonight.”
Hellwig continued to heap praise upon what he called a special group.
“This team is very deserving because of the leadership and composure they possess,” said Hellwig. “They put on a show. The first half was our best half of basketball all year. It was like everything that we wanted to happen, happened,”
Hellwig said his team’s pressure 1-2-1-1 full-court zone defense, something Medina developed late in the regular season, stifled Lackawanna’s offense in the title game.
“It got where the kids were very good at baiting players into thinking something was there and then they’d take it away,” said the Mustangs’ head coach. “It’s fun to watch something like that evolve.”
Watching this team come together has been a joy for Hellwig, who took the head job at Medina this season to fill-in for Coach Tom Forrestel.
“Tom had some family considerations because of COVID-19 that he felt made it difficult for him to coach this year,” said Hellwig. “Before we knew if there would be a season, I had offered to volunteer with his team as an assistant, so he knew I didn’t have those same concerns. He and I have worked very closely for the last 15 years since I switched over from the girls’ program and became his JV coach. So he asked if I’d be willing to fill in while he took the year off. Not only was I helping out a friend, but it was a great opportunity to work with a group of kids that I’ve been very close to one last time.”
Hellwig coached this season alongside his son, Adam.
A dream season ends with a championship and a moment Hellwig says he will remember forever.
“It was like a scene out of Hoosiers,” said Hellwig. “The community gave us a parade before the game and then we walked out after we won to about 100 cars honking and people cheering. These seniors have been together with us since they were about eight-years-old. They’re competitors and they’re also there to pick each other up.”
It had been a long time coming for Medina, but after 50 years, the Mustangs are champions once again.