Bulldogs hold off the Leopards to advance to the Division II District Championship

Sports

The Bulldogs will host the Chaney Cowboys this Saturday for a District Title

POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The second-seeded Poland Bulldogs withstood a strong charge by the Louisville Leopards in the fourth quarter to escape with a 53-43 win as they advance to the Division II District Championship this Saturday at 4:00 PM.  The Bulldogs will play host to the third-seeded Chaney Cowboys.

With the victory, the Bulldogs improve to 16-3 on the season while the Leopards finish their year with a 14-10 mark.

“We came into this game prepping that they were going to be a good team,” junior guard Christian Colosimo said.  “We don’t want our season to end so this was a big one for us.  To move on to play in the District championship Saturday is very exciting for us.’

The Bulldogs carried a 17-point, 43-26 lead into the fourth quarter before the Leopards came alive and clawed their way back with a 12-2 run following a three by the Leopards Will Aljancic at the 5:06 mark of the fourth period.  They would make it a 6-point contest with 2:04 remaining when Aljancic drilled another three to make it 47-41.

But the Bulldogs senior forward Brody Todd made two clutch shots within the next minute of play to push the Bulldogs lead back out to 10 at 51-41 with 1:27 left in the contest.  Andrew Centofanti added two free throws with only 13 seconds remaining, securing the victory.

“I thought in the fourth quarter we didn’t think,” Bulldogs coach Ken Grisdale said.  “We started just scrambling and they tried to make us play faster than we wanted to.  When we got to where we were supposed to we were fine, but when we didn’t, we turned the ball over and we gave them some life.  They hit some big shots.  That’s a quality program and they weren’t going to quit.  But we found a way to push it back out to ten and get the win.”

“We had to gather ourselves and settle down and make the smart plays.  We had to make smart decisions and not turn the ball over, not letting them have easy buckets.  We made good shots and some good plays,” Colosimo added.

The Bulldogs were led by Colosimo with 16 points in the game, while Todd added 11 and Ross Dedo scored 10.  Centofanti would chip in with 8.  Colosimo would also grab 9 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs on the boards.

The Bulldogs lead the contest from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer as they held a 10-5 lead at the end of this first quarter, and they pulled out to a 14-point 32-18 advantage at the intermission.  The third quarter was more of a defensive battle as the Bulldogs took advantage of a technical foul on the Leopards to push their advantage to 39-24 at the 4:01 mark of the third quarter.  They would go on to hold a 17-point advantage at the end of the quarter, setting up the dramatic final frame.

The Leopards were led by Will Aljancic and Cory Noble each scoring 12 points in the game.  Hayden Diego would add 7 points and 6 rebounds.

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