By Matt Maher 

AKRON, OH – The Bulldogs faced a big test on Wednesday night in the Rubber City when they took on the CVCA Royals to try and advance to the district finals. While Poland had a decent second half with energetic runs that showed us all why they were there, it would be their slow start in the first half that would ultimately decide this game and give the Royals the 64-47 victory.


It’s never a good sign when you start off a playoff game down 17-3 after the first quarter but man was that Royals defense locked in. Every man had a partner and even when they doubled up on a Bulldog they had the floor well covered and forced Poland to take shots they weren’t comfortable with and scooped up rebounds or just stole the ball from Poland all together. 


Danny Nittoli would be the only scorer for Poland in the first with a double and 1-of-2 free throws made. CVCA had ice in their veins, not just on defense, but on offense too and that was spearheaded by Lavelle Sharpe who made two 3’s and led his team with 6 points.


The second frame bore better results for Poland with 12 points scored on offense but their defense was still underperforming and the result was a 20-12 edge for CVCA in the quarter. Nittoli continued to be the main source of offense for the Bulldogs with 5 points while Carmine Tukalo got himself warmed up with a 3 and Jas Stefancin went 2-for-2 from the stripe. Sharpe for CVCA continued his dominance with two more 3’s and his first double of the night.


Poland came out of the break hungry and ready to play and their offense reached new heights scoring 15 points and their defense kept CVCA below them with 14 points. Tukalo warmed up in a big way, earning 8 points with two 3’s and a 2 while Michael Daley, Jacob Hayes and Oliver McCully scored 2 points each. Sharpe was confined to just 2 points for CVCA but Niles Nuru picked up the slack and kept Poland on their toes with 7 points. 


Poland continued to outscore their opponent in the 4th with a 17-13 line. Tukalo continued his hot streak with two more 3’s and Andrew Todd joined the party with a nice 3 and a perfect trip to the free throw line notting him 5 points for the night. Sharpe would add 2 more points to his night and Nuru earned 3. 


Poland certainly put forth a valiant effort in the second half but couldn’t overcome the huge deficit they faced after the first half and the score tells the rest of the story. Carmine Tukalo finished the night with a team leading 17 points while Danny Nittoli tallied 10 of his own. The Bulldogs end their season 11-1 in the Northeast 8, good for first place, 15-7 overall and 1-1 in postseason play. Congratulations to the Bulldogs on another great season of Basketball!