Poland's defense forced 15 Salem turnovers in the first half and held the Quakers to 3 points in the second quarter.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
POLAND -- On the boys basketball schedule inside Poland High's locker room, there are dollar signs hanging next to every Metro Athletic Conference game.
How fitting. On Tuesday night against Salem, the Bulldogs looked like a million bucks -- and the Quakers were spent.
Poland jumped out to a 38-10 halftime lead and cruised to a 71-36 victory against the visiting Quakers.
Team discussion: "We didn't play well against Canfield a few games ago [a 38-31 Poland win], so the team came together and said we've got to get focused," said Bulldog junior Bill Bartos, who scored a career-high 19 points. "Our first goal is to go undefeated in the MAC."
Senior David McGarry scored 13 points and added seven rebounds for Poland (9-2, 4-0 MAC).
"David doesn't get enough credit," Poland coach Ken Grisdale said. "He's a great defender and he does a lot of things that get us going."
Zac Grey had 11 points and five rebounds for Salem (1-10, 0-4). Quaker sophomore Joe Smith, who missed the first 10 games with a broken foot, came off the bench to score 11 points.
Poland's defense forced 15 Salem turnovers in the first half and held the Quakers to just three points in the second quarter.
"We got the big lead and were able to work on some things," Grisdale said. "We worked on our half-court sets and got some better execution on offense. We've been a little helter-skelter at times."
Poland shot 23-of-51 (45 percent) and was 21-for-24 at the foul line. Salem was 14-of-32 (44 percent) but only 3-for-4 on free throws. The Quakers had 27 turnovers.
After heartbreaking losses to Boardman and Beaver Falls early in the season, Poland has established itself as one of the area's best teams.
Rekindled: The success started to have a negative effect, Bartos said.
"We were winning and we got a little distracted," he said. "It was a bigger problem than just the Canfield game. We thought we were going to just breeze through our schedule. But in the last two games, we've come out pumped up.
"There's been a fire in our eyes."