Poland High School boys’ basketball preview

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Poland Bulldogs, High School Basketball

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POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The Bulldogs are back, this time with a new coach leading the charge.

Poland’s Ken Grisdale retired after last season, accumulating 506 wins over his 28-year head coaching career at the helm of the Bulldog program. He won 15 league championships, 10 district crowns and three regional titles. He became the 49th coach in the state to compile 500 wins.

Taking over for Grisdale is one of Poland’s own, Eric Fender, who graduated in 2003 and was a part of the Bulldogs’ program as a player and as an assistant coach (in 2020-21).

Fender previously served as Springfield’s head coach for eight years amassing a record of 138-47 and winning a district championship.

“I expect our players to come in, work hard every day, and compete in practice and in the games,” said Fender. “We have so many players that are having success in their fall sports seasons, that we’re just hoping to continue that trend in basketball.”

The team must replace the likes of Andrew Centofanti (9.5 ppg, 3.4 apg) and Brody Todd (8.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg).

The Bulldogs are set to return four starters – Ross Dedo (11.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg), Christian Colosimo (9.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.9 apg), Michael Gordon (6.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg) and Jack Fulton (4.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg).

Coach Fender adds, “I think any successful team has to be led by their seniors. We have a great senior class returning, and I am so excited to get started with them, but you need good leadership from your seniors, and if you do, I believe that the underclassmen will buy in as well.”

Poland is set to open the season at Howland on November 30.

Poland Bulldogs
Head Coach: Eric Fender, 1st season at Poland
2020-21 Record: 16-4 (8-1), 2nd in Northeast 8
Last 5-Year Record: 96-22 (81.4%)

2020-21 Team Statistics
Scoring Offense: 57.6
Scoring Defense: 45.7

2020-21 Individual Leaders
Scoring: Ross Dedo – 11.6
Rebounding: Christian Colosimo – 6.4
Assists: Andrew Centofanti – 3.4
Steals: Andrew Centofanti – 2.1
Field Goal Percentage: Jack Fulton – 47.8%
Three-Point Percentage: Bryce Barringer – 31.3%
Free Throw Percentage: Michael Gordon – 78.9%

2020-21 Northeast 8 Conference Standings (League Record)
Struthers – 12-0
Poland – 8-1
Lakeview – 7-4
South Range – 7-5
Jefferson – 4-6
Hubbard – 2-8
Niles – 2-9
Girard – 1-10

2021-22 Schedule
Nov. 30 – at Howland
Dec. 7 – Fitch
Dec. 10 – Hubbard
Dec. 11 – LaBrae (United Way Classic)
Dec. 14 – Niles
Dec. 17 – at Struthers
Dec. 23 – at Canfield
Dec. 28 – at Boardman
Jan. 4 – South Range
Jan. 7 – Girard
Jan. 11 – at Lakeview
Jan. 14 – Jefferson
Jan. 18 – Springfield
Jan. 21 – at Hubbard
Jan. 25 – at Niles
Jan. 28 – Struthers
Feb. 1 – at South Range
Feb. 4 – at Girard
Feb. 8 – Lakeview
Feb. 11 – at Jefferson
Feb. 15 – at Chaney
Feb. 18 – Canfield

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