Derek Medolla, Garrett Johnson lead well-balanced Jericho win over Wantagh
The ball moves -- without a dribble -- and the players move -- without the ball. When it works well, it's the hoops version of poetry in motion.
"That's Jericho basketball," veteran coach Wally Bachman said. "Don't put the ball on the floor and look for the open man. When we do it well, we usually win."
"We had to move the ball and look opposite," forward Derek Medolla said, referring to the side of the court across from Jericho star Garrett Johnson, one of the leading scorers on Long Island. "He's always getting double- or triple-teamed so we have to move to get ourselves good shots and move the ball to get good ones for him."
Medolla did the dirty work, collecting 18 points on a variety of layups and putbacks.
David Orr and Erik Kanzler had 13 points each and Johnson was his usual sharpshooting self, nailing four three-pointers and scoring a game-high 20 points.
"We turned up the defensive intensity and that led to a lot of easy points," Johnson said.
The Jayhawks (7-3 overall, 4-1 league) were at their best during the late third quarter and early fourth, when they went on a 19-4 run to break away from stubborn Wantagh (7-2, 3-1), which got 18 points from Eric Regenbogen.
Johnson started the surge, fighting through a screen to sink a quick-release three from the top of the key. Medolla made two free throws, Mike Goren scored inside and Johnson hit a foul-line jumper to close out the third quarter. The Jayhawks made it 12 straight points as Johnson hit a three from the corner, then Orr made a free throw and Medolla turned an offensive rebound into a layup that made it 61-40 with 6:22 left.
"We picked it up defensively and everyone crashed the boards," said Medolla, an all-state soccer player who did not play basketball last season but is an impact player in this, his senior year.
Said Bachman, "I'm glad to have him back."