By Joe Catullo Jr.
With approximately 1 minute remaining Friday night against Girard, Poland led by 11 points and was looking to waste time off the clock.
Instead, they turned the tides.
George Chammas raced down court with the Indians trailing him and made an easy layup. After Evan Standohar traveled, Chammas did the exact same thing. The Bulldogs scored four points in 15 seconds, sealing a 48-35 victory.
“If they start fouling us and we miss foul shots, that team shoots 3s better than any team I’ve seen this year,” Poland coach Ken Grisdale said. “At any point they can get hot, so those insurance buckets were important.”
The Bulldogs (20-2) shot just 37.5 percent from the field and made five 3-pointers on 21 attempts, but the biggest difference was offensive rebounds.
“Whenever you can clean up your own trash, it makes things look a lot better,” Grisdale said.
Poland collected 12 offensive boards and 28 overall, while the Indians (15-6) grabbed 25 rebounds. The rebounding game eventually got to Girard coach Craig Hannon, screaming and yelling in frustration during a stretch in the third quarter when the Bulldogs collected three offensive rebounds in a row.
“We knew we had to rebound,” Chammas said. “We had the height advantage and we had to be aggressive on the boards.”
Nine of Chammas’ 11 rebounds were on the offensive end, leading to a team-high 13 points.
“What he does really, really well is rebound,” Grisdale said. “The perimeter shot’s still not there, but he’ll go around the rim. He’s probably our best jumper that we have on our team.”
Hannon was not surprised by Chammas’ game, telling one of his assistants after the game, “What did I tell you?”
“I know how well he goes to the offensive glass,” Hannon said. “He does that great, and we just weren’t locating him. I kind of knew he would do that because that’s his game.”
On the other side, Craig Randall finished with 14 points.
The Indians made two 3-pointers on 17 attempts. Grisdale said the game plan on Randall was simple.
“Get a guy on him, wear him down, get a hand in his face and pray a little bit because that kid can flat out fill it up,” Grisdale said.
Despite a 35-point night, Hannon is confident his team will clean things up before their Division II sectional-district.
“I’m beyond excited about our year and how things have gone,” Hannon said. “I don’t think anyone around the area except for me and the guys in that locker room thought we would win as many games as we did.”
As for the Bulldogs, this campaign is the second 20-win season in school history.
But Grisdale said it’s not one of Poland’s most talented groups.
“We don’t have a Colin Reardon, we don’t have a Ben Umbel,” he said. “[Jacob] Wolfe’s been the man we’ve gone to through most of the season, but when he has a bad night, there are other guys who are finding a way like George tonight.”