Next: Hubbard at Newton Falls, Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Next: Poland vs. Boardman, Dec. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
By Jim Flick
In a seesaw battle with an outcome that remained in doubt until the final buzzer sounded, Poland beat Hubbard 66-61 Tuesday night.
“I knew these guys weren’t going to quit,” Poland coach Ken Grisdale said of the visiting Hubbard squad. “If there’s any team in the area that challenges us, it’s them. They weren’t at all intimidated by us.”
In fact, Hubbard held a narrow lead at halftime, 33-32. But Poland scored the first 10 points of the second half to surge ahead 42-33.
Hubbard (3-2) repeatedly ran themselves back into the game against Poland (3-0). The Eagles trailed by only three points, 64-61, with less than a minute on the clock. Hubbard missed a three-point shot that could have tied the game with 29 seconds remaining.
“We knew we could hang with them by running,” said Hubbard coach Rick Fox.
Poland was led by junior Colin Reardon, who tallied 25 points. Darius Patton, a junior, added 14 points, while senior Drew Wagner contributed 10.
Hubbard’s leading scorer was senior Mike Lupuchovsky, who zipped in 17 points. Seniors Tyler Duez and Kory Hopkinson each scored 14 points for the Eagles, while Jeremy Collins pitched in with 10.
Poland scored the first five points of the game, on a three-pointer by senior Anthony Machi and a layup by senior Brandon Maceyko. But Hubbard stormed back to score the next seven points on a three-pointer by Hopkinson, and buckets by Duez and a Corey Grocost.
That’s how the first half went, back and forth, the teams trading the lead. Lupuchovsky hit a short jumper to give Hubbard the lead just before halftime.
Poland’s Ben Tadla hit a short jumper to start the second and give the Bulldogs the lead. That shot was the start of a 10-point run that gave Poland a lead they never relinquished.
Hubbard stormed back, and trailed by only a point, 44-43, with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
But the Bulldogs started the fourth quarter with another run that put them ahead 49-43.
Again, the Eagles scrapped back, again trailed by only a point, 62-61, with less than a minute to left on the clock. Darius Patton, who scored 10 points in the second, swished a pair of free throws to give Poland a 64-61 lead with 29 second remaining.
“There’s no quit in them,” Fox said of his Eagles.
“We’re a young team,” Grisdale said of the Bulldogs. “I’ve got a lot of new guys that are figuring things out.
“They played smarter in the second half,” he added. “They moved the ball around better. Their execution was batter, and they did a better job of shutting them [Hubbard] down. Ultimately, we won.”