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Confident Cowboys

Chaney routs Poland; wins back-to-back titles

Correspondent photo / Adam Zampedro The Chaney Cowboys won a Division II district championship on Saturday and advance to the regional at Barberton where they will face Gilmour Academy on Thursday at 8:15 p.m.

POLAND — The Chaney Cowboys are going to get a chance to do something that was taken away from them last season. After beating Poland 70-48 in a Division II district final on Saturday, the Cowboys will compete in the regional round of the tournament.

Chaney won the district championship in 2020 only to have the season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The season was canceled just before they were to play in the regional semifinals.

“We try to win a district championship every year,” Chaney coach Marlon McGaughy said. “We’re going to try to keep it rolling the best we can. We won it last year. The year before that, we lost in overtime by 2.

“It’s been an up-and-down season with this COVID thing. We shut down earlier in the year for a month. I think we got 13 games in. It’s been a struggle all year. We played a lot of tough teams, so it prepared us for a game like this.”

The No. 3 seeded Cowboys didn’t have much of a problem disposing of the No. 2 seed Bulldogs in the final home game for Poland’s seven seniors.

Quincy Jones completed an and-one, as Chaney led 12-8 at the end of one quarter.

Cameron Lawrence (10 points) was quick to the hoop to start the second for Chaney. The Cowboys pushed the ball upcourt to Josiah Gonzalez, who finished. Gonzalez (16 points) also nailed a smooth, left-handed, jumper.

The Cowboys were playing some stifling defense. Christian Colosimo hit a pair of free throws to finally get Poland on the board with 3:30 left until halftime. Chaney took a 28-14 lead into the locker room.

Senior Sharrod Taylor took over the game in the third quarter and put it out of reach for the Cowboys. Taylor scored 15 of his game-high 26 points in the third. He was on fire from long distance, as he drained four from downtown in the quarter. He had a steal and an alley-oop pass to Gonzalez. Chaney was up 54-27 heading to the fourth.

“It was just a feeling,” Taylor said. “It was still a close game. We had to seperate the score. Thanks to my teammates for helping me do that. A lot of teams don’t make it past districts. It’s a good feeling. Hopefully, we can make it all the way to state. We didn’t get a full season. We’re all close. It’s like a great family bond. It’s unbelievable.”

The Cowboys can believe it as their season continues. Brody Todd and Michael Gordon (team-high 12 points) each hit a 3-pointer as the Bulldogs’ season came to an end.

After the game, it was announced that Poland (16-4) coach Ken Grisdale had coached his final game after 28 years on the job. Grisdale earned his 500th career victory earlier this season. He finished with 506 wins, including 10 district titles.

“My daughter (Poland’s all-time leading scorer, with over 1,300 career points, Jackie Grisdale) is a senior this year,” said an emotional Ken Grisdale. “She wants to play college basketball. I haven’t missed anything that she does. I don’t plan on missing anything. I would love to continue, but I also love my daughter way more. So, that put me in a situation where I had to make a choice.

“I don’t know that many people are able to stay for 28 years at the same place. I’ve been very fortunate. As much as it hurts me that our season came to an end today, I’m happy for Chaney because they get a chance to do something that they earned and that they deserve.”

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