POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The Poland Bulldogs exploded in the second half to overtake the Struthers Wildcats 51-30 in a Northeast 8 contest Thursday night.  The victory improves the Bulldogs to 4-0 on the season, 3-0 in the league.  The Wildcats drop to 1-3, 1-2 in the conference.

Senior Connie Courgas scored a game-high 19 points while sophomore Mary Brant added 11.  Abby Farber, Katie McDonald, and Morgan Kluchar would all yank down 6 rebounds to help the Bulldogs on the boards.

With the Bulldogs nursing just a three-point, 20-17 lead at halftime, the Dogs exploded with a 12-0 run to start the second half as they rode that momentum to hold a 20-point, 40-20 lead at the end of the third quarter.

“We just had to start playing our game.  That’s what it came down to,” Said Bulldogs coach Nick Blanch.  “Credit to them (Bulldog players).  They came out and did what they had to do in the second half.  Credit to our seniors for leading and we came out there and did more in the third quarter than we did in the whole first half both defensively and offensively.”

“At halftime, we just picked up the pace with all five starters coming out hot,” Farber added.  “And we came out with our defensive intensity being a lot better in the second half.”

They would start the fourth period with an 8-0 lead to take a game-high 28-point advantage at 48-20 with 4:30 remaining in the contest.  But the Wildcats kept fighting as they closed the contest with a 10-3 run to make it the 51-30 final.

The Bulldogs held a 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, and would not hold a larger lead than just 4-points in the first half.  They led 13-9 following a basket by Connie Cougras, and held a 20-16 lead following a Sarah Forsyth three with just 53-seconds before halftime.

Junior guard Chloe Neider led the Wildcats with 11 points on the night.  Ella Croyle and Emma Morris had 6 rebounds apiece to lead the Cats on the boards.

“One of the things we are trying to focus on is where we play really well, but then there are times that we don’t.  So we are looking for more consistency.  We are going through that process.  And as we get more and more games in, you are going to see a lot better Struthers team,” Wildcats coach Bill Neider remarked.  “I’m really proud of the girls.  We are down two girls that are starters.  They came out and played hard.”

The Bulldogs will host the West Branch Warriors Saturday afternoon in the United Way Classic.  The Wildcats will also be in action on Saturday when they travel to Austintown.