O’Shaughnessy’s 28 points power Poland over South Range
O’Shaughnessy’s 28 points lead Bulldogs
By Greg Gulas
About the only thing colder than the weather was the first-half offense the Poland-South Range boys basketball game Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs’ Braeden O’Shaughnessy made sure he turned up the heat in the second half.
O’Shaughnessy scored a game-high 28 points, nailing four of his five 3-pointers in the third quarter to help Poland overcome a three-point halftime deficit for a 52-45 victory over the Raiders in Northeast 8 Conference play.
Daniel Kramer added 14 points and Adam Kassem eight for Poland (12-2, 8-0 NE8) as the Bulldogs won their seventh straight, remained undefeated in league play and stayed perfect (7-0) in January.
They are now 8-0 on the road this season.
“We were out of sync in the first half so give credit to South Range because we haven’t played a team as good as them defensively in a few games,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Our defense got us going in the third quarter. We feed off our defense and they helped us hit our stride.”
A bucket and free throw by O’Shaughnessy staked Poland to the early 3-0 lead, but a triple by Nick Matos keyed a 7-2 run by South Range (11-6, 5-4) as the Raiders built a 7-5 advantage heading to the second period.
Matos led the Raiders with 12 points. South Range led 19-16 at halftime.
“It was the same type of game at our place, tied 15-15 at the half,” Poland head coach Ken Grisdale said. “This was a good defensive game with two not-so-good-shooting teams in the opening half. You always expect a defensive battle when you go up against a John Cullen-coached team and tonight you had two teams competing very hard for the ball.
“At halftime, I told our team to just continue doing what they were doing. What we wanted to do was get the lead and then spread it out. We just had a hard time getting the lead.”
A bucket by Chris Brooks at 4:05 of the third quarter gave South Range uts largest lead at 26-19.
But O’Shaughnessy’s four triples and four points by Kramer sparked a 16-4 Poland run for a 35-30 lead.
“They locked us up defensively in the first half and that prevented us from driving and shooting,” Kramer said. “Coach Grisdale told us to just keep playing defense, play our game and our shots would fall.”
Adam Kassem scored five of Poland’s first eight points in the final period as the Bulldogs held on for another win.
“I just kept shooting the ball, even after a miss,” Kassem said. “Give credit to my teammates because they got me the ball all night when I was open. This was a big road win for us.”
South Range held a 32-28 rebounding edge, but coach John Cullen said their inability to grad a rebound at times hurt.
“We couldn’t grab rebounds, giving up two 3-pointers off a second-chance rebound,” he said. “Poland is one of the best rebounding teams around. O’Shaughnessy hit four 3’s in the third quarter to get the lead and then we had to play catch-up.
“I’ve had teams that were more skilled, but this team has improved the most since the first day of practice. They really follow the game plan.”