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Louisville Outlasts Medina 49-44 in District Semifinal Boys Hoops Action

Alliance, OH - On paper, the District Semifinal matchup between the Louisville Leopards and Medina Bees looked to be lopsided. Louisville entered the night 22-2 on the year (including tournament games), while Medina came in 14-10. The Leopards feature a potent offense, averaging over 70 points a contest, led by senior Hayden Nigro who averages north of 20 a night. The Bees average a modest 60 a night. When it comes to rankings in the state for Division 1, MaxPreps ranks the Leopards 3rd, while the Battling Bees came in at 59.

When it comes to tournament basketball however, once the ball is thrown in the air for the opening tip, all of that goes out the window. The Leopards were without Junior post player Brayden Gross for the game, and the 2nd leading scorer and team leader was sorely missed.

The Bees opened the game getting multiple players involved on offense. 4 of their 5 starters tallied points in the opening 8 minutes, led by Brock Beech with 3 points. The Leopards however held the advantage 15-11 after 1 quarter of play as Junior Tate Aljancic led all scorers with 8 points.

The Battling Bees did just that in the 2nd quarter as they outscored the Leopards 12-8 in the period, heading to the halftime break deadlocked at 23. While it was Brock Beech again pacing the Bees, scoring 7 in the quarter to bring his 1st half total to 10, what was more impressive was who wasn't scoring on the Leopards side. The Bees had held Hayden Nigro to only 3 points in the first half while Junior Point Guard and offensive kick starter Beau Siegfried was held scoreless.

Medina Guard Brock Beech (22) dribbles near the time line in the early stages of the opening quarter. (photo: Derek Dimit)

Coming out of the halftime break, both teams continued to trade baskets, with Louisville ending the 3rd quarter with a 3 point advantage, 37-34. The Bees were led in the 3rd by 6th man Jase Holland with 5 points while the Leopards were led by Aljancic who deposited 6 in the frame.

The Louisville Leopards huddle during a 4th quarter timeout on Wednesday evening. (Photo: Derek Dimit)

It was on to the 4th in a tightly contested battle from the opening tip. The score remained 37-34 through the first 3:59 of the quarter, until Kellon Johnson split 2 free throws to cut the lead to 2 at the midway point in the quarter. It was the charity stripe that would put the game on ice for the Leopards as they did an excellent job of controlling the ball in the waning minutes of action, forcing the Bees hand and forcing them to foul in an attempt to complete the comeback. The Leopards were paced in the final quarter by Nigro with 4 points, totaling 7 on the night, all from the free throw line. Also scoring 4 in the last 8 minutes of action was Ashton Marshall, giving him 6 points on the evening.

The Bees last ditch efforts fell short, with Brock Beech trying to will his team to victory with 7 points in the final quarter, totaling a team high 19 for the game.

The Leopards await the victor of the GlenOak Golden Eagles and Canton McKinley Bulldogs (7:00 pm Tipoff on 3/7 from Alliance High School) on Saturday afternoon for a 2:00 PM tipoff from Harry Fails Gymnasium at Alliance High School.


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