By DAN POMPILI
Poland and Mooney will meet Monday night in the Division II boys basketball tournament after the Bulldogs topped Crestwood and the Cardinals overran West Branch on Wednesday night.
SDLqThey hate us and we’re not exactly fond of them,” said Poland coach Ken Grisdale. “We don’t get to play each other often, but when we do the tension is pretty high.”
A party involving alcohol on Friday led West Branch (7-17) to suspend all but four of its varsity players Wednesday morning, and the Warriors called up JV and freshman players to fill out the roster.
Mooney had three players in double figures on its way to a 66-26 victory. West Branch scored just six points in the second half.
The Cardinals applied heavy pressure and seemed to steal the ball at will from a Warrior team that could only hope to make the best of a bad situation.
Mark Hadle led Mooney (10-11) with 14 points. Doug Caputo (12) and Joey Kleeh (10) also reached double figures.
Kip DeShields led the Warriors with 11.
“Lou [Sellaroli] does a really good job and it’s a shame some of his players couldn’t play tonight,” said Mooney coach Brian Danilov. “He runs a really good program and we were fortunate to do what we did.”
Poland beat Crestwood, 69-38. The Bulldogs (21-2) bombed the Red Devils with 13 3-pointers, including three each from Jacob Wolfe, Ryan Burke and Kyle Dixon.
Tough defense forced Crestwood (7-16) to take bad shots and 2-for-9 shooting from the foul line didn’t help.
Wolfe led the Bulldogs with 13 points and Dixon added 11.
“We knew it’d be tough any time you get Poland around tournament time,” Crestwood coach Al Mielcarek said. “We needed the perfect game to beat them and obviously we didn’t have it tonight.”