Poland overcomes improved WGH girls

WARREN — In a game much closer than the scoreboard indicated, the Poland Bulldogs came out with a win over Warren G. Harding Raiders Saturday in a girls basketball game on the Raiders’ floor.

Despite losing by 10 points, the Raiders made sure to make this victory hard for Poland, fighting to the last minute. It was something Poland coach Nick Blanch was glad to see.

“Harding brought a great game to us today, we knew they would,” Blanch said. “Hats off to (Harding coach) Frank (Caputo), they were prepared, they executed very well, and they pushed us down to the last minute of the game. It was a great game of basketball to see.

“I’m proud of my kids, proud of their effort, proud of the way we were able to stick together, through good and bad, a roller-coaster of a game. Every game is a big learning experience, we don’t have a lot of varsity experience coming off the bench and these kids learned a lot today.”

Junior guard Sarah Bury has that experience and used it in a dominating 35-point performance for the Bulldogs (2-0). Bury made five 3-pointers, five 2-pointers and 10 free throws.

Harding (1-1) was led by Diamond Phillips with 11 points and Brayleonna Woods and Toni Donaldson with 10 apiece. Freshman Faith Burch scored ewight points and contributed a stellar defensive effort.

Poland led 17-15 after one quarter and 35-26 at halftime. The Raiders came out and held a 17-10 edge in the third quarter to close within 45-43 headed into the final quarter. Poland had a 15-7 edge in period four.

Both teams face All-American Conference rivals in their next match. Harding (1-1) stays at home to face Boardman on Thursday, while the Bulldogs (2-0) return home to take on Lakeview on Wednesday.