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Poland rebounds from loss with turnover blitz

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

By John Bassetti


The consensus is that the Poland High School boys basketball team doesn’t hurt itself on the basketball court with mistakes.

Last Friday’s 69-61 loss to Edgewood that sent Poland to its first defeat was the exception, so there was a slim-to-no chance that the Bulldogs would repeat the performance Tuesday against Campbell.

The game was Campbell’s second straight against a state-ranked team and, again, the Red Devils (9-11) held their own before falling, 63-49.

Braeden O’Shaughnessy had a game-high 20 points, followed by Daniel Kramer with 14 for the Bulldogs (18-1).

Junior Nick Kouros had 17 points while senior Darion Jones added 14 for Campbell, which was 20 of 46 from the field and 4 of 10 at the foul line.

Until running into a turnover turnstile, Campbell went on a 20-4 run starting late in the second quarter when the Red Devils trailed, 32-15.

After the spurt, Jones’ jumper pulled the Red Devils within 36-35 with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter.

“LaBrae kind of beat us up a bit,” Campbell coach Nick Canterino said of Campbell’s 77-46 loss to the Vikings on Feb. 3. “Then we came back [against LaBrae in a 64-50 loss on Feb. 9] and tonight [against Poland], it [Campbell’s deficit] could have been close to 20-25 points, but we cut it down to one [36-35].

“Again [the turnovers], but Poland, they’re so good; they don’t kill themselves; they’re good — high IQ.”

When it was over, Campbell suffered 24 turnovers, while Poland had 21.

“We put in a few more full-court presses against other teams, so that’s what we plan to do,” Kramer said of converting the opponent’s turnovers into points via multiple means.

Kramer, who had seven of Poland’s 31 rebounds, let it be known that O’Shaughnessy and teammates Mike Diaz, Brandon Barringer and Billy Orr also make the Bulldogs a bulldozer to beat.

“They’re quick and can force guys into turnovers,” Kramer said. “We were all pretty mad about the loss, so we had to take it all [disappointment] out on the court [against Campbell].”

Diaz, a gnat-like player who finds ways to contribute — and cause problems for opponents at the same time — had nine assists, six rebounds and four steals. Orr also had four steals.

Poland coach Ken Grisdale said that Campbell has gotten more competitive since earlier in the season.

“Seeing where they started with them and where they are now, I give the coaching staff credit. They played us even, most of the game, I thought, and did the same against LaBrae recently.”