AUSTINTOWN, OH- The first-seeded Poland Bulldogs advanced to the district championship on Monday night with a 34-26 win over West Branch.
It was clear from the get-go that this game was going to be a defensive battle. Neither offense came out strong. For Poland in the first quarter, four different players got a bucket, and Ella Harrell had a free throw. That was it for the Bulldogs as they led 9-5 after 1 frame.
West Branch had their best quarter in the 2nd, they hit 4 three-pointers in the frame and ended the half on an 8-0 run to lead 21-17 at the break. Things seemed to be swinging the way of the Warriors.
Enter the Poland defense. The Bulldogs were every definition of a shutdown defense in the 2nd half, and in the third quarter especially. Poland outscores West Branch 11-0 in the third to jump ahead 28-21.
The defense didn’t go anywhere in the final frame, Poland continued to pressure and harass the Warrior ball handlers. West Branch only scored 5 points in the entire 2nd half, and those 5 points came in the final two minutes. Poland used their stingy defense to advance with a 34-26 win.
Leading the Bulldogs offensively was Sarah Bury with 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Kailyn Brown added 6 points 6 rebounds, and Marlie McConnell scored 6 points as well. Poland will play Ursuline in the District Championship Thursday at 7:00 at Austintown Fitch High School.