Central region

Burning River Buckets win North Central Region, advance to ABA Last Eight – News-Herald

The Burning River Buckets created their own version of March Madness this weekend in Noblesville, Ind.

By winning three games in three days, their inaugural season will extend until April.

Euclid grad Martell Medley’s steal in the dying seconds sealed a 106-104 win over the Ohio Bruins in the North Central Region Finals Championship game on March 20. The Buckets qualified for the single elimination ABA Final Eightto be held April 14-17 in Kansas City.

To get there, the Buckets beat the Chicago Rebels on March 18, then upset the No. 2-ranked Chicago Fury on March 19. They finished with victory over the No. 9 Ohio Bruins, who beat the Buckets in each of their two regular season meetings.

The Buckets led between four and six points in the streak. The Bruins started play after a timeout, but Medley thwarted their last chance to tie or take the lead with a deflection to end it.

Gabe Kynard (Lake Erie College) scored a game-high 32 points, including 22 in the fourth quarter, and was named MVP. Kynard said the Buckets fought their way through the Bruins.

“We hung on,” he said. “We kept fighting.”

Medley added 25 points. Justin Fritts (Mentor) added 18, KT Taylor had 15 and Anthony Coleman (South) had 12.

Buckets coach Patrick Koenig said the feeling around the team “is surreal right now”.

He added: “Communication was key. Being vocal about what worked on and off the pitch. We locked ourselves in and were able to take the win.

Kynard joined the Buckets mid-season. He cited players working and having families as some of the challenges they overcame to get there.

“This weekend we came together as a unit,” he said. “That’s what got us to victory.”