Poland defense clamps down on Lakeview

Poland clamps down on hard on Lakeview




Poland Bulldogs girls basketball coach Nick Blanch had a plan.

One look at Poland’s 74-12 win over the Lakeview Bulldogs in an All-American Conference game Wednesday indicates that the plan was followed perfectly.

Like every coach who will face Annie Pavlansky, Lakeview’s talented senior headed to Kent State University, Blanch had to limit Pavlansky’s scoring as much as possible. Knowing that no player on the roster is capable of staying with Pavlansky one-on-one, Blanch made sure two defenders smothered her each time she touched the ball.

With little room to maneuver, Pavlansky, who was limited to five points, was forced to dish the ball to teammates, many of whom were also enveloped by Poland’s aggressive defense. The result was a 32-11 turnover differential in Poland’s favor, which was a big reason for the lopsided score.

“Annie Pavlansky is the best individual scoring player in the area,” Blanch said. “We were not going to watch her do to us what we’ve seen her do to other teams, so we had to come up with a different philosophy to prepare for her where we were more along the lines of a team defense.”

The large number of turnovers resulted in a run of easy transition fielders for Poland (3-0). The winners also shot the ball well from the perimeter, making eight 3-pointers.

Poland showed outstanding scoring balance, led by senior Bella Gajdos with 17 points. Sarah Bury had 15 points and 10 other players dented the scoring column.

“We prepared well for this game,” Gajdos said. “Playing as a team, we’re getting better and better. It [the lopsided score] wasn’t expected. It just happened like that.”

There was no time when Poland wasn’t in complete control, but it was most evident in the first half. In opening a 23-4 lead after the first quarter and leading 42-7 at the half, the winners forced 20 turnovers while committing only one.

“I know it sounds cliche, but we’re team-oriented,” Blanch said. “We don’t care who’s the leading scorer. We want to win championships. We want to win the conference. We know we have a lot of weapons when we play together.”

Gajdos was seemingly everywhere in the third quarter in scoring 12 points, including six on a pair of 3-point shots. The surge led Poland to a 61-10 lead entering the fourth period.

There were times when Gajdos seemed out of gas from the ballhawking-style defense and running the floor in transition.

“That’s how we build up during the game, from our defense,” Gajdos said. “Our offense feeds off of it.”

The loss drops Lakeview’s record to 2-3.

Blanch is pushing the buttons with the idea of wiping out the memory of a loss to Southeast in a sectional final last season. Last night’s showing was clearly a big step.

“We lost by one point,” Blanch said. “That’s kind of a bad taste in our mouth we’re trying to get out. We have that in the back of our mind as motivation as we go forward this year.”

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