Poland Bulldogs are looking to write their own history in District Finals


Jackie Grisdale and Brooke Bobby led the way for the Bulldogs District semi-final victory

AUSTINTOWN, OHIO (WKBN) – This year’s Poland Bulldog team is trying to write its own history.  Wednesday night the second-seeded Bulldogs wrote a new chapter as they advanced to the DIII Championship game with a 47-36 victory over the third-seeded Southeast Pirates.

“Every win is a big win. We’re in the shadows of last year’s team.  A lot of people thought that was our glory run and these girls have worked hard and want to write their own story,” Bulldogs coach Nick Blanch stated.  “They are doing a great job and we’re just taking it one obstacle at a time.”

“It means a lot coming back from last year and trying to replicate what we had last year,” senior Kailyn Brown remarked about the Bulldogs going to Regionals last year.  “We are our own team this year and I think we have done a great job so far.”

The Bulldogs improve to 22-2 on the season and will now face the top-seeded West Branch Warriors Saturday night at 7:00 PM.  The Pirates finish the year with an 18-6 record.

The Bulldogs fell behind early in the contest before they roared back to take a 12-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.  They would build a 10-point advantage with 4:42 remaining in the second quarter when Morgan Kluchar connected on a basket to put the Bulldogs up 20-10.  But the Pirates would go on a 9-2 run to close the period and pull to within 3 at 22-19 at halftime.

However, the Bulldogs came out on fire to start the second half a Brook Bobby nailed a three from the corner on the Bulldog’s first possession, and they would go on a 10-2 run to start the quarter.  They would hold an 11-point, 35-24 lead at the end of the period.

“We talked about being gladiators,” Blanch remarked about the halftime speech.  “There is no letting off the gas and we let off the gas at the end of that second quarter and let our opponent back in it.  So we talked about the gladiator approach and being the aggressor and never taking our foot off the pedal.”

“There was definitely a big pep talk at halftime by coach Blanch,” Brown added.  “We needed to play our game, Poland girls basketball.  We weren’t giving one hundred percent and that what we needed to do.  We came out in the third quarter and we played our hardest.”

The Bulldogs built a 14-point advantage early in the fourth quarter at 40-26 before the Pirate pecked away a bit to cut the deficit down to 10 at 42-32 with just over three minutes remaining in the game.  That was as close as the Pirates would be able to get.

Jackie Grisdale led the way for the Bulldogs with 19 points while Brook Bobby added 11 with three treys in the game.

Rachel Neer led the Pirates with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

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