'Exhausted' Shurilla leads Poland with 19
Canfield rallied in the second quarter, but couldn't keep up in 60-45 loss to the Cardinals.
CANFIELD -- Off the court, Poland High's Jim Shurilla was exhausted, overheated and vomiting.
But on the court, his jump shot looked as healthy as ever.
The senior sharpshooter scored nine points in the first half, and after throwing up at halftime from being overheated, put up 10 more points in the second half to lead the Bulldogs to a 60-45 victory over arch rival Canfield in front of a capacity crowd of 1,600.
"He was just playing so hard that he exhausted himself," said Poland coach Ken Grisdale, as Shurilla was bent over in the locker room throwing up again after the game. "It's really hot in this locker room and he came in at halftime and was getting sick.
"But Jimmy got us some big baskets in the second half, both from the outside and in transition. He's our finisher and got the job done tonight even though he was sick."
Defense steps up
As usual, Canfield brought out the best in Poland. The Bulldogs rallied from a 6-0 deficit to take a narrow 13-12 lead after the first quarter.
Defense took center stage in the second, as Poland stymied Canfield's perimeter game, limiting the Cardinals to just five points in the period. The Bulldogs scored 14 points in the eight-minute span. Shurilla's only points of the quarter were big ones. His jumper with 1:08 remaining before the intermission gave Poland a 27-17 advantage.
"We tell the kids that great defense wins big games," said Grisdale. "Our offense isn't always the prettiest, so if we can shut down the other team from scoring, we can get through it."
Canfield remained within striking distance in the third quarter, cutting Poland's lead to as little as six points. The Cardinals trailed 39-31 heading into the final period.
That's when the Bulldogs' defense showed up again. Poland went on an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter, increasing its lead from eight points to 19 with 4:24 remaining.
"We got out of our game plan," said Canfield coach John Cullen. "We let physical errors turn into mental errors. I was proud of how we got their lead down to 10, but you can't get behind that much against Poland.
"When we made mistakes, they made us pay for. In the first quarter we hit our open shots, but we couldn't make them after that."
Shurilla had plenty of help offensively, as Youngstown State signee Chad Fender poured in 15 points and 6-foot-7 center Lou Coppola had his way inside with 10 points.
"This was a huge win for us," said Grisdale. "If the MAC comes down to the two of us, it was big that we came here and got a win. That makes them have to come to our place to try and beat us on our home court, and I like those odds."