“He has hit me in the head a few times,” Hiner said.
Hiner has learned to be prepared to receive the basketball at any time from Kodiak’s junior guard.
Medina’s wizardry with the ball has Kodiak’s boys basketball team believing they can make another magical run through the Northern Lights Conference Tournament that begins today at Wasilla High School.
“He is the guy that makes everything work,” the junior Hiner said.
Kodiak (10-12) reverted to its run-and-gun offense in last week’s victories over Palmer, and at the helm of the Bears’ attack was Medina, a speedy 5-foot-9 junior.
“If he is not running, the team is not running,” Kodiak second-year coach David Anderson said. “A lot of stuff goes through him. His hand touches the ball a lot.”
Medina’s biggest skill is finding his teammates in the flashiest of ways. He is Kodiak’s Steve Nash.
“I just plan stuff in my head. I make their defender come to me and then I do the pass. I do what I can to pass,” Medina said.
During a game last weekend, Medina delivered a no-look, behind-the-back pass to a cutting teammate along the baseline for an easy layup.
That play not only surprised Anderson, but also Medina.
“I threw it behind my back and I was hoping he would be there,” Medina said.
Anderson, who was known as a passer during his playing days for Kodiak in the 1970s, said Medina is the perfect player to run his offense.
“It is a talent that you either have it or you don’t,” Anderson said. “It is a neat thing to watch, because he is usually around the money with the pass.”
Medina said he has always been known as a passer and practices every chance he gets with his teammates.
“Coach has been telling them to be ready for my passes because they are going to come,” Medina said. “At the beginning of the year they used to always drop them, but now they are used to my passes. They know it is coming when I drive.”
It took years for Hiner, a forward averaging 5.8 points per game, to learn Medina’s ways.
“He knows what I can do and I know what he can do,” Hiner said. “When he penetrates, I know when to go. It is so cool when he knows where I am. It just makes the game so much more fun.”
Medina played in 11 games last year on Kodiak’s state qualifying team and has started in all but one of the Bears’ 22 games this season. He is averaging 9.8 points — second on the team behind Jesse Swearingin — and more than five assists per contest.
“This year has given me a lot of experience and makes me more confident now,” Medina said.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at sports@kodiak
Watch the Northern Lights Conference Tournament online at http://www.livestream.com/akbasket